Cover Image: Seven Days in May

Seven Days in May

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This is a great story of the sinking of the Lusitania told from 2 different viewpoints.  The contrast between the various classes (including crew) on the ship and the people in London was well described.  The fact that the reason for the sinking is still a mystery was also a key part of the book.  The main female characters were intriguing an given greater depth than most of the men.  The Room 40 sections were of great interest as I visited Bletchley Park only last year.  Well worth reading.
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Isabel works in Room 40 for the British Admiralty during the First World War. What's being done there is top secret. She hopes nobody will find out about her past and her code breaking skills are giving her the second chance she needs. While trying to find out what the Germans are planning, Isabel discovers that war isn't fair at all. Some things never have a right outcome, no matter which side you choose to approach it from, it's a hard lesson that will leave a lasting impression.
 
Sydney's sister Brooke is engaged to an English aristocrat. Edward needs Brooke's fortune and Brooke wants his title. It's going to be a marriage of convenience. Sydney and Brooke travel to England together with Edward on the Lusitania. They've been warned the ship is at risk to be attacked, but nobody on board is really worried. Sydney and Brooke are constantly arguing. Sydney is a suffragette and Brooke is embarrassed by the behavior of her sister. While their relationship is becoming tenser with each passing hour, the two sisters and Edward have no idea they're about to face a grave danger. Will they survive?
 
Seven Days in May is an impressive story. I was immediately intrigued because of the strong heroines, women who want to use their brains and are fighting for equal rights. This made me instantly like the story. Isabel has a past and she's trying to make sure her reputation in Room 40 won't be tarnished. She's smart and curious and always does more than what's being asked of her. Sydney doesn't care about what people think of her, she fights for what she believes in and she constantly tries to educate others. Brooke is a more traditional rich woman, but one with an iron will. When she wants something, she goes after it and doesn't let go until she has it. I loved how well Kim Izzo describes the personalities of her characters. She makes them come to life incredibly well and I was amazed by their strength and confidence.
 
Knowing what would happen to the Lusitania kept me on the edge of my seat. Kim Izzo starts with regular problems, friendships and relationships and slowly builds up the tension. The more pages I turned the faster I wanted to read. I was fascinated and the story gripped me, maybe even more since I knew what was coming, but not exactly how it would happen. Kim Izzo has written a fantastic story, it's interesting and informative. She combines this with beautiful sentences and a nerve-racking adrenaline rush. I highly recommend Seven Days in May, I absolutely loved this compelling and moving story.
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The story sounded great, but I am really not a fan of dual point of view narratives. It just lets you buikd up interest to then come crashing down to start something new. I also thought there was too much telling and describing at the beginning.
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This book was such an unexpected surprise - I was enthralled from cover to cover. It incorporated so much and so well, that I found each and every aspect engaging - and there are many. This is what historical fiction is all about - transporting you to another time and place, and on this occasion, from war torn London to the deck of a ship doomed for tragedy. 
 
‘... received anonymous telegrams warning them not to sail on the Lusitania because “she was doomed,” the implication being the great ship was going to be torpedoed.’
 
Firstly you have the tale of the Lusitania. I consider myself a fairly well read historian but the light Izzo sheds on some facts here is heart-rending. Firstly let’s just consider how well she has written to take such an established story (we all know the ship is doomed) and make it into a page turning travesty. The sinking of the ship is so vivid, in fact quite graphic, that images from James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ immediately spring to mind. And knowing that it’s all true, is gut wrenching: of the 1959 passengers who sailed that fateful day, only 764 survived, of 33 babies on board only 6 survived. Some of the conspiracy theories are raised, the main one focussing around, “Does Churchill want the Germans to target a neutral ship just to get the Americans to join the war?”
 
‘Churchill would use it to lure the Americans into the conflict. Somehow in Isabel’s mind she thought that if she intercepted a message at the right time then she could prevent tragedy. What was the purpose of breaking codes if they couldn’t be used to save lives?’
 
Secondly there is the role of women during this period of time. Everything from women’s political rights, to reproductive rights, to Isabel and her working rights in the light of an extra-matrimonial affair. Isabel is such an interesting character and her role in ‘Room 40’ - the top secret office set on breaking through codes for the British Admiralty office - and her quest and concern is honourable to the very end. 
 
‘Ever since she had transcribed the ship’s name on the target list she felt responsible for it.’
 
Then there is the fall of the English aristocracy and the investment of American dollars to keep them afloat. What were people prepared to do for their manor or a title? The high-life of American heiresses and stories of the rich and famous, that would eventually go down with the ship, are recounted here. Izzo gives you  a true indication of the stark contrasts between how the rich compared to steerage passengers fared in the first few days of this luxury liner sailing. 
 
‘Her sister belonged in a world that was fading from fashion only she was too immersed in it to see it. The European penchant for titles and class was on the edge of collapse; the war was going to see to that.’
 
‘He was caught between ideology and tradition, needs and wants, morality and duty. His honesty, however, was not for sale.’
 
Overall what you have here is a rich historical tale of two really strong female leads who are intelligent and inspirational in many ways. The writing is so engaging - I can smell the cigarette smoke in Room 40 and feel the sea breeze aboard the Lusitania - Izzo does it so well. The depth of research and integration with fiction is truly commendable - it’s real and authentic through and through. The alternating tale between what happens on board ship, with real time what happens behind the scenes at Whitehall and the Admiralty is engrossing. The final scenes of the torpedo and sinking of the ship are indeed harrowing and gut wrenching.  
 
“The Lusitania ... not only are they the most luxurious and safest transatlantic passenger liners in the world, they also have the capacity to become the fastest and most powerful armed cruisers in the war, should the need arise.”
 
I couldn't put this book down and highly recommend it to all lovers of historical fiction.
 
“We need to forget what happened and move on. We had seven wonderful days together ... let that be enough.”
 
 
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release
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I learned quite a bit about the Lusitania's voyage and sinking from this well-researched novel.
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This book has been brilliantly and sympathetically written. It has obviously been well researched and tells the story of the Lusitania beautifully. Having lived all my life in Northern Ireland it is a story I knew and this book tells it really well. The characters draw you into the story and keep you reading. I really wanted to know who survived the sinking of the Lusitania. The people in the book seemed so real and their individual stories add a lot to this book and set the scene perfectly. It is really interesting to find out about this part of World War One. I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely recommend it and want to read it again myself.
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I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
It is historical novel placed in 1915 and the main hero is RMS Lusitania, followed by the dual story. One story is about two rich American heiresses: Brooke and Sydney.  Brooke has just engaged to Edward whom she does not love, neither Edward loves Brooke but it is going to be a marriage of convenience. Edward will get money through this marriage to keep his family home, Brooke will get a title. Sydney is sort of “black sheep” in the family because of her free spirit, interest in the political rights of women and suffragette connections. All three disregard the warnings that Germans may attack passenger ship and decide to travel by Lusitania to England, where Brooke and Edward are to get married before he goes off to fight in France.
The second story is about Isabel Nelson who previously worked as a housemaid in Oxford for the University professor, but due to some fortunate and unfortunate events found herself in London, now working in A Room 40, decoding the incoming war messages.
The story of Lusitania and Room 40 are authentic, also some famous names mentioned in the novel.
What is the biggest attitude of this book is its authenticity and keeping the reader interested in the story till the end. Despite that we know what happened with RMS Lusitania. 
I loved the book. I loved how the world of the rich travelling by ship was portrait. I liked how the world of the highest authorities in London was pictured and their attitude to the war events. 
I also admit that this book inspired me to see Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool where there is a big exhibition devoted to RMS Lusitania and Titanic.
All together made fascinating picture of those difficult war times.
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A lovely read switching between two perspectives and covering the well known story of the sinking of the Justinian
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This is the first story I have ever read about the sinking of the Lusitania, and I enjoyed the historical pieces that went into the book, but the main story just couldn't hold my interest. 

I really had a hard time connecting with this book. I just found that most of the main characters were not very likeable. Brooke came off as very superficial, even though there were times that it was inferred that she was business-savvy. The circumstances surrounding her engagement really did not endear me to either Brooke, nor to Edward. Sydney was a bit more likeable, but I found it a little off-putting how she decided to attempt to push her progressive views on the women she was with on the ship. I had a hard time connecting with the "romance" of the characters; I didn't quite buy that 7 days of very little interaction with someone would let you fall so deeply in love with them that you are willing to throw caution to the wind and risk hurting others that you love. 

I actually liked the storyline that contained Isabelle and the others working in Room 40 better. It added to the suspense, even though I knew that the Lusitania would go down... While Isabelle was one of the most likeable of the main characters, I cringed when she was reading notes that were not intended for her eyes, and then talking about information she should not have been.

Some of the minor characters were likeable and entertaining, which kept me reading through until the end, in order to find out what happened to them. Other readers of historical fiction might enjoy this book, but it just wasn't for me.
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Seven Days in May was beautifully written; it was fast, engaging and factual. I was so impressed by how the author, Kim Izzo was able to relay historical facts along with a fictional love triangle during World War I, between two privileged sisters who could not be more different. 

The story begins in January 1915, with the younger Sinclair sister, Sydney, a Suffragette, visiting an abortion clinic and vowing to donate money. Then it quickly changes perspectives over to London, where we get introduced to Isabelle Nelson, who has her own storied past and has settled in London to help with the war effort. Back in NYC, Sydney prepares to attend her older socialite sister, Brooke's engagement party which will be attended by the "who's who" among New York's social society. Shortly after the party in May, Edward and the two sisters begin their journey to England on the Lusitania (which Isabelle is simultaneously tracking in England) to prepare for the upcoming wedding that is to take place on Edward's estate. This is where the story begins to get interested... 

This book is a fast paced trip back to May 1915 where you will get to experience what it was like to travel on the Lusitania during wartime, not only on the first class, but in the third class as well. Buckle up!
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A very moving and tragic story regarding the sinking of the Lusitania during World War I.
Although a fictional story it is based on fact and has actual character's and events intertwined with fictional characters to bring to life this tragic event.
It deals compassionately with how tragedy effects not only those who are directly involved in it but a nation as a whole.
This is very relevant especially today.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and learnt of  historical facts that I was totally unaware of.
It is also a social commentary of the class system of the time and women's place in society and the lengths that some very strong women went to bring about change for the women of today.
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I was interested in the character's journeys but was hoping that they would intersect. I was disappointed in the payoff at the end.
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Seven Days in May had a strong start.  I was fascinated and couldn't wait to see how the story of the doomed Lusitania and her passengers would unfold.  However, somewhere in the maritime action my attention dwindled.  The concepts of the characters, the love triangle, and the struggles of women's and class rights were all stellar ideas, however, the follow through left something to be desired.  The author's note was fascinating though. I was happily surprised to discover the author, Kim Izzo was descended from one was the minor characters.
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This is a novel about the sinking of the ship The Lusitania during World War I. At the heart of the story are 4 main characters, Sydney (a wealthy suffragette) and her sister (Brooke) who are travelling from New York to England with Brooke's aristocratic but penniless fiance, Edward, for Brooke and Edward's wedding. In England, a young woman named Isabel works as a secret decoder for the British government. In the course of her work, she learns the Germans have threatened to torpedo the Lusitania.

I found the pace of the first half of the book sluggish with small bits and pieces of conflict here and there. I almost dropped the book, but kept pushing on. I'm glad I did because the last third of the book was poignant with despair as the sinking of the ship and the fate of its passengers was depicted.

A good book, well written and well grounded in historical details pertaining to this famous doomed ship and its passengers, but be prepared to persevere a little through the first half to get to the real meat and potatoes of the tale.
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Such a beautiful historical fiction.  Love the  story of the Luisitania and the  view of being  on board intercepting messages from the enemy.  This keeps you  turning the pages until you can get to the end!
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I really enjoyed this book and the story of the sinking of the Luscitania.  I felt the main characters were well portrayed and credible.  The clear links with relatively recent history kept my interest, particularly the work of Room 40 and of a woman's challenge in this arena.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this advance copy.  I will have no hesitation in recommending it to my friends as a mixture of romance, history and the background surrounding this unfortunate incident.
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Seven Days In May is historical fiction set around the sinking of the Lusitania during WWI as well as the early days of decoding in Great Britain.  Two related storylines are kept going simultaneously throughout the novel.  Isabel is a young woman who is promoted from secretary to coder and she follows the route of the Lusitania along with the locations of German submarines in her path.  The other main storyline revolves around Brooke and Sydney Sinclair, wealthy American females, and Edward Thorpe-Tracey, a titled Englishman who is in danger of losing his ancestral property.  

A love triangle develops between Brooke, Sydney, and Edward.  When they set sail for England, Edward is engaged to Brooke.  Over the course of the trip, Edward falls in love with her suffragette sister, Sydney.  The majority of the middle portion of the book revolves around their will they won't they status.  The other will they won't they is will Great Britain alert the Lusitania to the danger it is in or will they choose to sacrifice it to pull the United States into the war.

Hopefully, everyone remembers their history and knows that the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine.  This turn of events tossed everything up in the air for the main characters occupying the ship.  This part of the action kept me reading to find out what would become of them all.  

This book was very well written and definitely well researched.  I enjoyed it a lot.  My one and only criticism is that the middle portion of the book could have been condensed slightly to expedite events.  As a character, Brooke, was not fully developed but it didn't hurt the novel any to have left her as a stereotype.  Overall this was a truly enjoyable historical fiction novel.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel.
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A good story told alongside true events that added some depth. The back drop of the Second World War, the fight for womens rights, and the tragedy of the last voyage of a doomed ship set the perfect background into which our characters are drawn. They have been written with some depth, no one is perfect and none of them are evil, so the book remains interesting from first to last page. I especially liked the true story of the author's family woven in, which added to the plot and feel of the novel. Excellent, easy read, however not light and fluffy.
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Truly interesting story of The Lusitania​'s last voyage, and what happened! This is extremely important for Historical reasons, based on true people who were there. The codebreakers, and the exhausting work they did, and the personal turmoil it takes on the people reading the codes! This Author's GG Grandfather was and is a hero! Fantastic story of romance, wealth, power, and the evil of the German Submarine Officer! I highly recommend today! Thanks! Enjoy! 
carolintallahassee 👒
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I love novels based on historic events. It is obvious that the author has done her homework for this heartrending story set around the sinking of the Lusitania during World War I. The fictional characters are interwoven seamlessly with the "real" people. The story is told from several points of view: that of Sydney Sinclair, her sister, Brooke, and Edward, Brook's fiancé as well as Isabel, who is in London working in a decoding office for the Admiralty..
The sinking of the Lusitania helped bring the United States into the war, and there was talk that not enough was done to protect the ship from German submarine activity. In any case, there was much loss of life even though there were plenty of lifeboats. The Lusy, as she was called, sank in 18 minutes.
Definitely a great story!
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