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That Fatal Night: The Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton (Dear Canada)
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That Fatal Night: The Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton (Dear Canada)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  346 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In the aftermath of the Titanic disaster, a young girl must come to terms with haunting memories from the voyage.

It is May 1912, one month after the horrific sinking of the Titanic, and twelve-year-old survivor Dorothy Wilton is sent home from school in disgrace when she strikes another student. Although she's expelled, her sympathetic teacher encourages Dorothy to write
Hardcover, 170 pages
Published September 1st 2011 (first published January 1st 2011)
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The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan WolfFateful by Claudia GrayPromise Me This by Cathy GohlkeBy the Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia GoyerHearts That Survive by Yvonne Lehman
Titanic's 100th Anniversary
17th out of 74 books — 118 voters
With Nothing But Our Courage by Karleen BradfordOrphan at My Door by Jean LittleNo Safe Harbour by Julie LawsonFootsteps in the Snow by Carol MatasIf I Die Before I Wake by Jean Little
Dear Canada Series
33rd out of 36 books — 49 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 944)
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Nicola Mansfield
Dec 02, 2011 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
Reason for Reading: Someday I hope to read all the books in this series.

This book takes a different point of view than most kid's historical fiction I've read about the Titanic. The book starts a few months after the sinking and we meet Titanic survivor 12 year-old Dorothy, her traveling companion did not survive, something for which she feels guilt and Dorothy doesn't really want to talk about the Titanic anymore. She gets into an altercation at school and is sent home for the remainder of the
It's May 1912, and twelve-year-old Dorothy Wilton has returned to her home in Halifax after surviving the sinking of the Titanic. She just wants to go back to her normal routine and not talk about what happened, but finds herself expelled from school after hitting another girl who said horrible things about the victims of the disaster. Dorothy's favorite teacher suggests that during her time away from school, she should write a diary about what happened to her, to help her come to terms with her ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Stars added it
it is a sad but happy book i liked it a lot
Jan 02, 2012 Emma rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: younger kids interested in history
Shelves: dear-canada
I guess I'm just finally growing out of these books, because normally I love them, but this one was "just ok." It was a lot shorter than most of the Dear Canada books too. What I didn't like was how long it took to get to the part where the girl tells her stories about the Titanic. When I finally got there, it was interesting to read, albeit short. A good book for younger kids, but maybe no longer for young adults like myself, despite a past affection for this series.
Jan 04, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing
In this first-rate novel, LOCAL SCHOOLGIRL: TITANIC SURVIVOR Dorothy Wilton is supposed to be writing a journal about the disaster. Instead she journals about her 2-month stay in England with her grandparents before boarding the Titanic, interspersed with her current life in Halifax dealing with the trauma of surviving.

“Now I will think over my bad behaviour. No. I will NOT. I will think over the bad behaviour of Irene Rudge.” I loved Dorothy’s spirited, honest, realistic personality!

I adored Do
Mar 30, 2015 Nav rated it really liked it
Hmmmmmm......words. Well the play format was itchy. Ummmm and sometimes I loved those heartwarming ends of journal entry's . Such as -If only...! it was a heart warming story. Yet took time to rise like flour. Probably my least favourite dear Canada so far, there were some confusing terms. Usually historical ones. I always longed to find this book which found its way to me. Cuz first I picked up voyage on the great titanic...20 pgs in or so and I was bored. Finally I went to the library and my f ...more
Jul 20, 2013 Renaissance rated it liked it
This was a different perspective of the titanic disaster. She did not want to talk about it. Sometimes the play format bothered me.
True confession: I love the Dear America series and was deeply bummed when I discovered that there was a whole set of Dear Canada books that I had absolutely no access to, since I live in the US. I mean, I might have been able to purchase them online, but as a librarian and avid library user, I didn't really want to do that. I was SUPER EXCITED when my library bought a digital copy of this book! In the same Dear America tradition (IDK which came first?), this fictional diary of a girl living thr ...more
In this book Dorothy is a survivor of the Titanic. Her teacher gave her a notebook after she is banned from school. She was supposed to write about her adventure, but she is to sad to. Then she tells the story very detailed about her visit to her grandparents house in England. She says that she will tell about the Titanic soon, but continues on for a bit about her visit. Then she begins telling about the Titanic. I learned that it is not always your fault even if you are sure it is. Auryn 12 yea ...more
This. This was good.

By chance, I read a book not too unlike the way this one is structured: The events are being told from a point in the future.

But this, this is a good example for how you do that and pull it off successfully.

Dorothy is telling us the story after it happens, but it's done with a great deal of realism: She hesitates. She cuts herself off. She starts and stops, like a trauma victim would. She describes things with the right amount of detail and description that a twelve year-old
Vikki VanSickle
Jun 27, 2012 Vikki VanSickle rated it it was amazing
Despite issues of guilt and post-traumatic stress, That Fatal Night is not a heavy or traumatic read. Dorothy has a lot of pluck and Ellis has done an excellent job of recreating the diary of a girl who never intended her words to be read. She is honest about the people she likes and doesn’t like and never minces words, the effect of which is laugh out loud funny. Dorothy has a keen eye for detail and brings the Titanic to life for the reader, mentioning how the photographs in the paper cannot c ...more
Meaghan Steeves
Jun 26, 2016 Meaghan Steeves rated it liked it
This one was slightly disappointing. I found her to be a brat, the story moved fast, and I was a bit confused as to how the story was arranged. The historical note, however, was excellent.
Feb 16, 2015 Georgia rated it really liked it
"That Fatal Night" is not only a good book about the Titanic, but also the survivors' expiriences after the ship went down. Very close to 5 stars!!
Full review to come!
Aug 23, 2014 Highjump rated it really liked it
Totally awesome. Enjoyed the unexpected structure.
Feb 15, 2012 Amelia rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Titanic Lovers

That Fatal Night is a book about a Titanic survivor trying to realize what happened to herself by writing in a diary. It is particularly hard for her because she thinks that it's her fault that her mistress got left behind and drowned. She writes many things including her life before and during the Titanic and how life changing it was. It was very well told and gave you lots of details about the Titanic. I would recommend the book to anyone, especially people who are interested in learning more
Dec 21, 2013 Grace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is one of my favourite Dear Canada books...very well written. I like how she keeps flashing back to the night of the Titanic instead of BOOM TITANIC NIGHT and then the rest of the book dealing with everyday life (like the Halifax Explosion book; I found that one a bit boring because there as really only 5 good journal entries and the rest of them were mediocre). It makes the book very spread out and suspenseful.
Apr 14, 2013 Meghan rated it it was ok
Shelves: dear-canada
There was very little Titanic in this book. Throughout it was mostly her talking about doing plays with her family in England and then a brief Titanic mention. I saw no character development even at the end when she learns the truth. It was more a script format than a diary one. The epilogue was not done well in my opinion and the historical note was more about obsession with the media than anything else.
Angela Boland
I don't like this as well as its Dear America counterpart, but it was still very good. the story of the sinking of the Titanic was not as much of a focus as was Dorothy's struggle to cope with her experience. that was fascinating to watch. the whole point of writing the diary, especially in the format of the script of a play, is to help her process.
Rachel Seigel
Mar 02, 2012 Rachel Seigel rated it really liked it
I really didn't think that I could stomach another Titanic-themed book, but I really enjoyed this novel. The story is and isn't about Titanic. Yes, the narrator is a child-survivor of the disaster, but it's also about the guilt that she carries with her because of things that she thinks are her fault. Overall, a solid middle-grade read.
Jan 04, 2016 Ella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I already read this in English, so it wasn't super interesting to re-read it in French, but I like it fine anyway.
Aug 02, 2014 Sara rated it did not like it
I have always had a soft spot for Dear Canada books but I feel like the American version went into detail a lot better. This one just skimmed and though I loved the character and that I don't think it should have been characterized as being for the Titanic when it didn't deal with it very much
Oct 31, 2012 Shanelle rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to read about Canadian history
Another book from the Dear Canada series, That Fatal Night is a story about a young girl, Dorothy Wilton, who is a survivor of the great Titanic disaster. This story follows her life after the disaster and how she copes with what has happened to her friends and her aboard the Titanic.
Apr 27, 2012 Louisa rated it it was amazing
Great book, though the actual sinking was very quick, and not very much was made of what was going on, she was woken up, and taken to a lifeboat, then she was on the ship to take the survivors to NY. So I wish there was more of the actual sinking, but oh, well. Great book!
Apr 22, 2012 JennLynn rated it really liked it
The diary of a young Titanic survivor. As she gradually begins to write about her traumatic experiences, Dorothy comes to terms with the guilt she feels as a survivor. An excellent addition to the "Dear Canada" series. B
Mar 19, 2013 Peggy rated it really liked it
Shelves: titanic
I like books told in diary form (though I didn't care as much for the parts written as a play). Titanic and the sinking don't really come into the story until about halfway, but there is a treat for E. Nesbit fans.
Feb 20, 2012 Anna-Cosette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: titanic-books
I got this book yesterday and I finished it today. I absolutely loved the story, but I love almost any story based on the Titanic.
I loved how she wrote some parts as a script, it added to her character.
Aug 12, 2012 Kirsten rated it did not like it
I think that I had too high of an expectation for this book... It sucked!! 1 star is to much for this book! It doesn't even deserve a star.. Bad book... Shame on you Sarah Ellis... Shame shame shame...
Ingrid van Beek
Dec 23, 2015 Ingrid van Beek rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-re-read
I love this book! Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, it still hit me hard! Beautiful story, and a lovely new perspective of the titanic story of which I have read so many books.
Apr 12, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the fact that, instead of focusing on the sinking of the Titantic itself, it focused on the PTSD that a survivor felt. It's a different take that I hadn't seen before this.
Dec 20, 2011 Olivia rated it really liked it
Baillie noell you need to read this!! Not just the book

Where the heck have you been??? Please answer soon!!:)
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Titanic History: That Fatal Night: Titanic Diary of Dorothy Wilton 1 3 Mar 15, 2012 03:47PM  
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Writer, columnist, and librarian Sarah Ellis has become one of the best-known authors for young adults in her native Canada with titles such as The Baby Project, Pick-Up Sticks, and Back of Beyond: Stories of the Supernatural. In addition to young adult novels, Ellis has also written for younger children and has authored several books about the craft of writing. Praised by Booklist contributor Haz ...more
More about Sarah Ellis...

Other Books in the Series

Dear Canada (1 - 10 of 35 books)
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  • Footsteps in the Snow: The Red River Diary of Isobel Scott (Dear Canada)
  • A Ribbon of Shining Steel: The Railway Diary of Kate Cameron (Dear Canada)
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  • Alone in an Untamed Land: The Filles Du Roi Diary of Helene St. Onge (Dear Canada)
  • Brothers Far from Home: The World War I Diary of Eliza Bates (Dear Canada)
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