Seven Days in May

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Member Reviews

I really wanted to like this more. The story was okay to read but the characters couldn't have been more unlikeable. Maybe for someone who doesn't care about the characters, it wouldn't make much of a difference but I sadly give them too much of an importance. Once I don't care about the main characters, nothing can save the book for me. The writing was okay. Very simple and to the point!

I'm glad I got to know a little bit about the sinking of the RMS Lusitana. Never heard of that one! And, I guess, this is my favorite part about reading historical fiction. You usually come out learning some more about certain time periods.
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such a great historical fiction! I loved the setting, characters and plot!
I enjoyed this book from page on through to the last page and will defiantly reread this book once i get my hands on a physical copy. 
Highly recommend for any historical fiction lover!
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The sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, however important it was historically, has taken a back seat in fictional treatments to the more glamorous Titanic. Kim Izzo’s novel tries to rectify this by using parallel narratives to explore the ship’s political as well as social significance.

Sydney and Brooke Sinclair, sisters, are passengers on the doomed cruise from New York to Liverpool in May 1915, accompanied by Brooke’s charming English fiancé and a cast of movie-ready characters. The focus is on Sydney, a passionate crusader for women’s rights, who impulsively (and conveniently) decides to reject her socialite sister’s first-class suite in favor of a berth in steerage. On the English side, Isabel Nelson is an ambitious young woman with a shameful past who finds personal redemption working with the cryptographers who deciphered German coded transmissions. She discovers in the process some disturbing facts about the War Office’s willingness to endanger passenger liners as an inducement to bring the U.S. into the war.

This is a well-designed approach to the subject, and Izzo has researched carefully (in fact, we learn in her afterword that one of the shipboard characters was her great-grandfather). Unfortunately, her stylistic skills fall short, resulting in stereotypical characters, melodramatic interactions, and flat description. There is some Downton Abbey-style mixing of a wide range of classes and nationalities, but all the characters think and speak in nearly identical voices, and their reactions, romantic and otherwise, are predictable. This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy shipboard romance tales or disaster narratives (and Titanic fans who like both), but readers who expect complex characters and social insight may be disappointed.
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I was drawn in by the gorgeous cover but the writing & story inside is just as great. I really enjoyed this one.
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A beautiful novel about the last voyage of the Lusitania filled with love, scandal, resilience, and heartbreak. I was captivated from beginning to end. Thank you for the gifted copy!
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Oooh, I loved this. I'm already fascinated by the Lusitania - having finished Erik Larsson's superb book about it - so this novel is right up my alley. It's atmospheric, lush and vividly detailed, with the raw scent of impending doom. There's a particular feeling about a book that is so steeped in history - because of course, we as readers, know more than the characters do. It gives you this impulse to reach through the pages and yank them out, warn them of what's to come. This book has inspired me to seek out any other novels by this author - very much recommended.
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Thoroughly good read with interesting romantic struggle set against a backdrop of the suffragette movement and the race against time to reach Liverpool ahead of the German torpedo threat. Interesting strategic facts intertwined amidst shipboard life amongst the various classes of passenger. Characters were well developed such that you cared what happened to them when the inevitable occurred. I learned more about the the sinking of the Lusitania in this book than ever in a history lesson, yet it never bored.
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It may seem a silly thing to remind one’s self of but there is a reason that historical fiction has a basic formula. The past has already been written and we are all just trying to fill in the blanks. Many Americans know that the sinking of the Lusitania was the catalyst for the American entrance into WW1 but I was surprised by how much I didn’t know. I suppose that the Titanic overshadows many stories about sinking ships these days. Once I had found myself caring about our lead characters, I have to admit I sort of cheated. Instead of finishing the book to find the answer, I ran to Wikipedia. My biggest fear was that it would read, “No Survivors.” 

I think that shows a strength in the author's storytelling skills, that I could not wait until the end. What does that say about me? Well, I never really cared for surprises anyways. Some of my fellow reader/reviewers have dinged the author for carrying on too many storylines. I have to admit that there were times that I didn’t really care for one of them and I kept waiting to get back to the boat. Yet I understand the importance of the multiple storylines, even if they all didn’t collide as I would have liked. I would recommend this to those who like light romantic historical fiction and don’t mind love triangles too much. 

*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and HarperCollins in exchange for honest feedback*
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This is a romance plus that blends fiction with fact to great effect.  A strong tale of love among the upper classes in the early twentieth century is interwoven with that of a less privileged girl who joins the code-breaking team that later formed the basis of Bletchley Park. It tells the story of the Lusitania that was sunk by a German submarine in May 1915 with many lives lost.  On board were Edward, his American fiancé and her sister who have inherited vast amounts on the deaths of their parents.  Edward is sailing back to England for his arranged marriage but things get complicated. The code breaking back in England and the account of the sinking of the ship are excellent and the story is gripping throughout.  A very enjoyable read.
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Seven Days in May is a wonderful story. I was immediately intrigued because of the historical nature of the story. Kim Izzo weaves a wonderful novel full of intrigue and well developed characters. She has a genuine gift for storytelling. The story is fantastic, educational and historically interesting.  

The book is full of strong women who use their brains which was against social mores of that time.  These women are lifelike, smart, curious and determined.  I delighted in their strength and confidence.  The foundation of part of the story is the sinking of the Lusitania.  I knew what was coming but not how it would happen. As you read you never feel that this undeniable historical fact will ruin the outcome of the novel. The other portion of the story is about the Englishmen and women code breakers of World War I. 

I highly recommend Seven Days in May, I absolutely loved this compelling and moving story.
I also enjoyed the afterward where Ms. Izzo reveals an absolutely astonishing piece of information that has inspired her to write this novel.

Thank you to Netgalley, Kim Izzo and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review
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I am a sucker for good historical fiction that shows women who fought to be seen as human not just a woman in times where woman were seen as lesser.  This book has two of those as main characters in different parts of the world.

Multiple characters which also gave insight to a historical event that I knew VERY little about prior to reading this.  

That being said, it was a bit overburdened with trying to cover a lot all at once.  The romance parts were schmaltzy and annoying especially in terms of what happened on the ship.  It also made one of the characters I had really liked become really annoying to me and wondering if some parts were edited out that might have made what happened more appealing.

I wanted to LOVE it and ended up liking it.
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This was a good read. It started out slow with the sisters and events in New York, but once they were on the ship, I couldn't put it down. 
The story of the Lusitania was very well researched and described by the author. I love that she's a descendant of one of the survivors. 
Reader copy courtesy of NetGalley for review.
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I liked the strength of the female characters and the mix of historical fiction. Like the Titanic, we know ahead of time the fate of a lot of the Lusitania passengers, but it was still interesting to read. I liked Isabel's job in Room 40 the best.--code breaking and ciphering.
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Seven Days in May tells two stories intertwined by the wreck of the Lusitania ship.
Isabel is a  woman who realizes when she gets to work in Room 40 where she decodes radio messages spying on the Germans in the first world war.
Brooke and Sidney Sinclair boarded the ship for England along with Edward, a young man who goes to New York to get engaged with Brooke. Sidney is the black sheep of the family, a young woman dedicated to the feminine cause, fighting for the rights of women and ends up winning the attention of Edward for being so different from her sister Brooke, who has a more aristocratic way.
Alternating the events with Isabel in Room 40  with the events in the ship, Kim Izzo presents a panorama of the society of this time, the political intrigues and events of the period.
I'm not much of a fan of historical romances because I often get shaken to know what many people have gone through, but I really wanted to know this author's writing and I took the risk. Obviously I suffered a lot because I knew about the famous shipwreck and the writer narrated in such a way that I practically lived the scene.
I really liked the way she led the plot with remarkable characters and suspense to the right measure only I thought she spoiled the story with the ending, no matter how hard I tried to understand the message of a war situation and that she wanted to show feminine empowerment, that ending drew the glow from a book I had found wonderful.
3,5/5 stars
Kisses, Myl
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Seven Days in May centers around the final voyage of the Lusitania, sunk in 1915 by a German torpedo. On board the ship are Brooke and Sydney Sinclair, sisters who are traveling to England for Brooke's wedding to Edward, an English aristocrat. Brooke and Sydney are opposites - Brooke wants the trappings of an English title and Sydney is a would-be suffragette who wants to help Margaret Sanger. Of course, Edward and Sydney become attracted to each other during the voyage.

Mixed in with their story is that of Isabel, a worker in Room 40 in London where they are breaking the German codes. Isabel's story serves to highlight the beginning of the changing role of women as a result of modernization and WWI when they were needed to step in as men went off to war. Her story also highlight the controversy surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania - what was know and when was it know about the danger that the ship carrying civilians faced. Ultimately, I was more engaged with Sydney, Brooke and Edward and the others on board the ship than I was with Isabel.
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Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo is a historical thriller based on the true story of the sinking of the SS Lusitania by a German submarine in World War Two, an act of warfare that ultimately led to the USA entering the war.  Two wealthy heiresses, aspiring suffragette Sydney and her sister Brooke are sailing to London with Brooke's fiance, the impoverished aristocrat Edward.   Tensions rise between the two sisters admist the onboard danger of sailing in treacherous waters,   In London, Isabel fleeing from a failed love affair with her married employer, finds work as a secretary in the secret Room 40, part of the Admiralty and becomes part of a world of codes and ciphers and in doing so discovers a terrifying secret.  Inspired by the author's own family history, this is a compelling thriller mixing fact and fiction.  I enjoyed it very much.
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I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley.

"We all deserve love. Even survivors of great tragedies."

Seven Days in May takes place in May 1915 on board the Lusitania during her tragic final voyage. I, admittedly, don't know much about WWI, so I had never heard of the Lusitania before this book. After I finish this review, I'm definitely going to take some time to research it.

The story is told from two sides. On one side, we have Sydney Sinclair, a New York heiress who is also a suffragette despite the disapproval from her older sister, Brooke. The two set sail on the Lusitania, accompanied by Edward Thrope-Tracy, Brooke's British fiancé, for Edward and Brooke's upcoming wedding. 

On the other side, we have Isabel. She is a young woman with a bit of a secretive past who gets a job in Room 40 at the Admiralty. Though she starts off typing up transcriptions of intercepted codes, Isabel eventually finds herself deciphering code with the men in the room.

I have to say, overall, I very much enjoyed this book. While there were so many characters, each one felt diverse and different. They were all very easy to distinguish. I also enjoyed the author's inclusion of real people who were both on the ship and at the Admiralty during this time. I appreciate that she did not shy away from writing them. I can't imagine myself trying to write these characters (Alfred Vanderbilt, Charles Frohman, etc) without being worried I didn't do them justice. Props to the author! 

I think my only real negative here is the POVs of the story. It is all told in third person, but it is told from the narrator about Isabel, Sydney, and Edward. If I were making a choice, I would have cut out Edward's POV. For me, I felt like much of it could have been covered by Sydney's side of the story. 

Seven Days in May has a little bit of something for everyone: a little romance, a little mystery, a lot of history. The story kept me hooked. There wasn't a moment I was bored and when the action picked up, it all got intense quickly, as it should given the true story. 

If you like historical fiction, I'd definitely recommend giving this one a go.
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This novel follows the lives of three individuals during WWI.  Isabel works in London, decoding hidden German messages.  Edward, a poor English lord travels to the U.S. to escort his bride, Brooke, home for their wedding.  Sydney, Brooke's sister, is tired of the proper life expected of women of her station and wealth.  When Isabel starts seeing messages tracking the progress of the Lusitania, she immediately begins to worry about it's safety.  Edward, Sydney and Brooke are traveling on the Lusitania.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  The writing style wasn't bad and the character development was solid.  However, the love triangle between Edward, Sydney, and Brooke was trite and predictable.  It made Edward and Sydney very unlikeable.  Isabel's back story seemed unnecessary, it took away from the strength of her character.  The build-up and aftermath of the sinking seemed to take forever.  With some editing, the book could have been really good.  As is, it's a bust.
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Sydney and Brooke Sinclair are sailing on the Lusitania with Brooke's fiance, Edward Thorne-Tracy, despite warnings from the German Embassy about sailing into English territory during a war. Sydney is interested in the suffragette movement and contraception debates, which horrifies and embarrasses Brooke. At the same time in England, Isabel Nelson is working for Room 40, transcribing notes, codes and ciphers amidst personal drama. The horrors of war soon become all too evident for all of these people.

At first, I thought the two separate stories would meet up at the very end. Instead, the dovetailing stories serve to ratchet up the tension, even though we know historically that the Lusitania was torpedoed and sank, killing most of its passengers.

We get to watch Sydney and Brooke's relationship completely unravel and then tentatively come back together, get to know the passengers in first and third class, and care to know about them and their struggles as individuals.

I didn't find the romance between Sydney and Edward to be very believable, even though they certainly do understand each other better and have more in common than Edward and Brooke do.

The passages in England following Isabel are interesting to see how the inner workings of Room 40 were, but other than a drive to decipher codes, we see little of Isabel or what she wants. When we finally do get to the sinking, it's vividly described and the aftermath is heartbreaking.

I liked the afterward, where Ms. Izzo reveals that Sydney's friend in third class is actually her own great-grandfather. Stories he had told her grandmother had piqued her interest, and there's even a helpful reading list for those interested in the Lusitania and the investigations that took place at that time. There are wonderful descriptions of the ship, the people, and how the differences in class affect everyone. No one is unscathed in this disaster, and there's sort of a hopeful note at the end of the book.
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Seven Days In May takes place during World War I, and addresses both home front issues as well as the threat of attack by ocean. In London, Isabel has come to the city for a fresh start, and is given the opportunity to work with Room 40, deciphering coded German messages for the war effort. In New York, Sydney Sinclair is a feminist, marching and getting arrested while fighting for women’s rights. Her activism causes friction with her sister Brooke, who has recently become engaged to Edward Thorpe-Tracey, a Briton with a title and a struggling estate. Edward has come to New York to bring Brooke and Sydney back to England for the wedding, a marriage for money and not for love. As Isabel works furiously with Room 40 to decipher and deliver messages, Edward, Sydney, and Brooke board the Lusitania, and all of their lives will change for good.

The novel switches point of view between Sydney, Edward, and Isabel, and all three were compelling. I wish we had received chapters from Brooke’s point of view, but I suppose Sydney and Edward’s chapters allowed the reader enough insight. While I certainly wasn’t fond of Brooke, I feel like that may have been due to how the other characters saw her, and I would’ve liked to understand her better. Isabel’s chapters were my favourites, and oh, how I disliked Mildred! I could just see Isabel working at Bletchley Park after the war, and indeed, I hope she did. Ultimately I thought all of the characters were well-crafted, and those who were meant to be antagonists were not an exception to this.

I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of the events surrounding the code breaking in London, or the Lusitania sinking, or even the feminist causes that Sydney was involved in, such as birth control and abortion, but all the elements mixed together well. It was interesting to me in particular to see how Sydney’s activism caused friction between herself and Brooke. As a feminist myself, someone who strives to be socially conscious like Sydney, I am well familiar how one’s views can create conflict between those who don’t care and simply don’t want to hear it. 

I’ll be honest, I could see where the romance would be and how the ending would turn out (relatively so, at least) – those things were not surprising. What was surprising was that, although Izzo was writing in a more than slightly predictable fashion, she still made it work. You still felt hope and joy for the characters, or exasperation or even sorrow, despite knowing where they were headed. And that is a rare thing, at least in my experience. That being said, I also had been hoping for a Happily Ever After for the characters, and was a little disappointed that I didn’t get it, but Izzo gave the readers of Seven Days In May the next best thing – the hope of a happy ending for our main characters.

Overall I really enjoyed the book – I’m a big fan of historical fiction with a dash of romance and drama, and Seven Days In May supplied that in spades. It was entertaining, fun, compelling, and the reader grows to care about all of the characters, which is a huge plus for me as a reader. I would definitely recommend this book to others, especially those who enjoy historical fiction like myself.
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