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Surviving Savannah

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  18,121 ratings  ·  2,433 reviews
When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she's shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can't resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the ...more
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published March 9th 2021 by Berkley
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Jackson Same question. Has to be a mistake. And it is a big one because it is Everly's last name and has you thinking until the end that she will find out she…moreSame question. Has to be a mistake. And it is a big one because it is Everly's last name and has you thinking until the end that she will find out she is a descendent and is related to Mora.(less)
James Corwin Editing details & awkward word choices aside, why does anyone even care about this story? I just don't get it.…moreEditing details & awkward word choices aside, why does anyone even care about this story? I just don't get it.(less)

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Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Many of us love the historical fiction genre, but feel it is being marred by the amount of romance being thrown into the mix and therefore ruining a type of story that was once alluring and educated us. I am happy to say Surviving Savannah was not one of the aforementioned books. While there is a bit of romance, it does not overwhelm the story that Patti Callahan was trying to tell, that of a devastating sinking of the Pulaski in 1838. Often referred to as the Titanic of the South, this ship aff ...more
Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan is a 2021 Berkley publication.


An exciting voyage on the Pulaski steamship, suddenly turns into a nightmarish tragedy. On board the ship, are Lilly and Augusta, two women trapped by their societal obligations and expectations.

Thrown into a life or death situation, the women come to a point of reckoning… yet only one of them would make it home to Savannah..

One hundred and eighty years later, the discovery of the sunken Pulaski steamship, once dubbed the
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
This book and author - big love. I love Patti Callahan Henry’s contemporary titles, as well as her newer historical fiction titles, and this is a book I’ve been looking forward to since I first heard about it. The Pulaski shipwreck was recently discovered off the North Carolina coast (also called the Graveyard of the Atlantic due to all its hard to navigate barrier islands). I spent my early life in a coastal community where a pier was built near an old steamer shipwreck (the pier was called The ...more
Lori Elliott (semi-hiatus)
“There is tragedy behind, and it trails us and walks alongside us, but still there is the great mystery of life after.’”

The Steamship Pulaski disaster was dubbed ‘the Titanic of its time’ yet most of us have never heard of it. The fight for survival was remarkable, especially given the time period.

Though I enjoyed learning about this event, I thought the delivery was a bit lacking. The present day story seemed to try too hard to mimic the original tragedy with too much time focused there instea
Berit Talks Books
Have you heard of the Pulaski,” the titanic of the south“. A steamship that sunk off the coast of North Carolina in 1838, carrying some of the wealthiest residents of Savanna at the time. I know I hadn’t heard of the Pulaski before this book. I love reading a story that introduces me to a piece of history I never knew about before. This is a dual timelime Story bouncing between 1838 and present. The present day story is about Everly. An archaeologists who has been hired to put together the museu ...more
3.5 stars

The Steamship Pulaski traveling from Savannah to Baltimore, exploded 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina on June 14, 1838, claiming two-thirds of her passengers and crew.

Savannah, Georgia. Present day. Everly, history professor, receives an offer to be a consultant for the museum exhibit as the wreck of the steamship Pulaski was found off the coast of North Carolina. It’s about bringing “to life a wreck that has long been ignored, one that changed the history of Savannah, Georgia,
Elyse Walters
Ebook/Audiobook sync
….. audiobook read by Patti Callahan, Brittney Pressley, and Catherine Taser
12 hours and 46 minutes

“Once upon a Wardrobe” was such an enjoyable-enchanting-wonder-of-storytelling : a tribute to Narnia and C.S. Lewis….
that I knew I wanted to read another book by Patti Callahan.

I practically gobbled the 12+hour audiobook in one gulp.
Don’t laugh…..
but I had almost forgotten how enjoyable an old-fashion-type-feeling….cuppa-tea-comforting…. dramatic historical-fiction novel…
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"No one spoke a word, each lost in their thoughts of those suffering their last breaths in the arms of an indifferent sea."

I had not even a faint hint of what these pages would hold for me. The sinking of the steamship Pulaski was not even on the horizon of my thoughts. Its historical perspective was nowhere in my experiential background. Oh, but it sits with me now.

Patti Callahan weaves a story here blending true events alongside those of fiction. Callahan begins in Present Day form with a gran
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This book started out very well. I was fascinated by the two storylines. In the first, a modern day history professor is called upon to prepare a museum exhibit for the recently discovered shipwreck Pulaski. She becomes embroiled in the research. The second involves passengers on the Pulaski in 1838. Initially I found both storylines equally interesting. However, as the book wore on into hundreds of pages, I definitely preferred the 1800s storyline.
The contemporary protagonist had so much perso
Sep 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, library
The Pulaski Steamboat sank in 1838 off the coast of North Carolina, earning it the moniker of the Southern Titanic. Callahan uses a dual timeline approach to give us the history of the boat and its passengers. For once, I was invested in both timelines.
In the present, Everly is a college professor teaching history. She lost her best friend in a hit and run accident one year earlier. She accepts a job as a guest curator for a small museum in Savannah mounting an exhibit on the sinking of the Pul
I'm glad I picked up this book. I'm unfamiliar with the history of the Pulaski Steamboat. On her fourth voyage in June 1838, her boiler exploded and she sank after 45 minutes 30 miles off N. Carolina coast travelling from Savannah, Georgia, to Baltimore, Maryland. With this historical piece, I've fallen down another rabbit hole. Marine explorers found the wreck in 2018 as well as gold coins, jewelry and other artifacts that are part of this novel.

The story is told in dual timeline manner; 1838
Marie Benedict
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spellbinding. Beautifully written with a masterfully crafted plot, Surviving Savannah leaves the reader breathless and marveling at the manner in which the past and present interweave in ways we almost cannot imagine.
May 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everly Winthrop had grown up hearing about the tragedy of the Pulaski, a steamship that sunk off the coast of North Carolina in 1838 killing most of its passengers. Most were members of Savannah’s most wealthy families. There were few survivors. To serve as a symbol of all who were lost, a statue was erected of Lily Forsyth, a woman believed to have perished. A painting of the ill-fated vessel still hangs in Everly’s childhood home. As a history teacher, Everly is thrilled when asked to curate a ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
What fun to do research for a sunken ship.

The Pulaski was finally found after sinking in 1838.

Everly Winthrop was given the task of finding what really happened to The Pulaski.

We also meet Lilly who was on the sunken luxury ship.

SURVIVING SAVANNAH takes us back and forth in time as we learn about Lilly Longstreet’s privileged life and then the terror of trying to save herself, her nursemaid, and her baby. Many wealthy families were on board.

We then move to present day as Everly does the research
Judy Collins
Exquisite! Ten Stars and Best Historical Fiction of 2021. Movie-worthy.

I finished SURVIVING SAVANNAH in two sittings and speechless! EXTRAORDINARY!! Hands down, the BEST historical fiction I have ever had the opportunity to read!

I knew NYT bestselling author, Patti Callahan was a master storyteller but this one is her best and a true gem. The best-kept hidden secret. I have had the opportunity of reading all her books. She was truly meant to tell this mesmerizing story, inspired by true eve
Apr 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: release-2021
Patti Callahan writes “How do we survive the surviving? Who do we choose to become after tragedy?”

Deeply atmospheric, rich and compelling. Surviving Savannah is inspired by the true and tragic story of the 1838 sinking of the luxury steamship Pulaski, now known as the “Titanic of the South,” with Savannah’s elite families on board. I was completely absorbed in this emotional story of loss, survival and hope.

The decision to live or die. I can’t imagine the split-second choices the passengers had
Cathy Branciforte
The description of this book was intriguing to me and I thought I would enjoy it more than I did. It was just okay for me as I found the dual timeline to be more distracting than enjoyable, skipping back and forth in short chapters, so I was unable to really enjoy either of the stories. At about one third of the way through I started to read every other chapter because I basically wanted to find out what happed to Lilly and the others on the Pulaski. I also skipped to the end to read the Author’ ...more
Elisabeth Plimpton
May 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very well researched novel and interesting read. It had a good mix of history, romance, and some mystery. I felt I learned a lot about the Pulaski shipwreck, Savannah, and this time period in history.

The story switched back and forth between museum curator Everly who is piecing together the mystery of who survived and Augusta and Lilly who experienced the ship’s explosion in 1838. At times the story did seem more dominated by present day Everly who was coming to terms with her own loss and gu
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Do we have a destiny? How do we survive the surviving? What happens to us after we live through tragedy both great and small? Is there such a thing as fate? Who do we become and why? Can we ignore our past if we are ashamed of it?-Patti Callahan

This is why we read historical fiction. The past shapes who we are today and we ignore or deny it at our own peril. Using the perspectives of three women (Everly in the present day/Lilly and Augusta from the 19th century), Patti Callahan gives us the stor
A thought-provoking and riveting story of catastrophe, survival and hope.

In 1838, twelve members of the Longstreet family of Savannah Georgia board the luxury steamship Pulaski, to travel to Baltimore to escape the brutal Savannah summers. This is the newly built ship’s fourth journey. There are over 180 passengers and crew members on board when the ship explodes in the middle of the night. With only two working lifeboats on board, many lives were lost on that horrendous night.

The wreck
Bonnie DeMoss
In 1838, The Steamship Pulaski set sail from Savannah to Baltimore, loaded with wealthy passengers, their extravagant belongings, and also their enslaved people. Lilly Forsyth, her nursemaid, the enslaved Priscilla, and Lilly's daughter Madeleine board along with Lilly's cousins, the wealthy and famous Longstreets. Lilly is also accompanied by her arrogant, cruel, and abusive husband, Adam. Dripping with wealth and carrying all the comforts of home, the Pulaski sets sail for a one-night voyage t ...more
Apr 22, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-2022, 2022
4 sweeping historical stars

This dual timeline historical fiction story is set in Savannah and features an interesting cast of characters, many of them drawn from real life people.

The older storyline centers around the 1838 boiler explosion and sinking of the luxury steamship Pulaski, sometimes called the “Titanic of the South”. Somewhat luckily for these passengers, there wasn’t freezing cold water, but many ended up scorched by the sun, thirsty, and hungry as they waited to be rescued for days.
Connie G
On June 13, 1838, the luxury steamship "Pulaski" left Savannah to travel north to Baltimore. Affluent families from Georgia wanted to escape the summer heat. A boiler explosion in the middle of the night caused the "Pulaski" to sink. There were too few lifeboats so people had to hang on to pieces of the decks, and many had never learned to swim. The book follows the stories of two women--Lilly and Augusta--as the passengers struggled to stay alive in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina.

A p
Apr 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2021, apr-21
Surviving Savannah is my 1st novel by Patti Callahan.
She gives us a beautifully written fictional tale based on a real event, the sinking of the steamship Pulaski, in the Atlantic off the Carolina coast in 1838.
Told in dual timelines, those of two courageous women who were on the Pulaski when it exploded and a modern day woman who is not only researching the horrific event but also dealing with her own tragedy.
The author's research of that fateful night and the newly discovered wreckage and re
4 stars - A great HF novel about a topic I knew nothing about!

This was a beautifully written and extremely well researched book about the sinking of the luxury steamship, Pulaski or the “Titanic of the South”. The story of the Pulaski sinking was completely new to me and one I found very interesting. It is told from multiple narratives and dual timelines, so you get to read experiences first hand on the ship as well as in present time with the discovery and restoration of the ship, its artifact
Pam Jenoff
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a great week when Patti has a new book out! Surviving Savannah is inspired by the incredible true story of the Steamship Pulaski, which sank off the coast of North Carolina in 1838 with the majority of passengers losing their lives. Patti's remarkable book focuses on two of those women and their unfathomable attempt to get themselves and their children to safety, told through the eyes of a modern day historian investigating what happened. Surviving Savannah is out tomorrow and you will lov ...more
Apr 12, 2021 rated it liked it
As often happens, I believe, in dual timeline stories, you end up liking one story more than the other. This is what happened with Surviving Savannah. I preferred the characters who survived the shipwreck, and their stories to the modern day tale. I thought the contemporary tale was overdone and its characters flat.
Viola Shipman
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You must read this book I could not put it down! Such rich stories and beautiful writing!
Jocelyn Green
Mar 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: time-slip
What an amazing story. I'm referring both to the history the author built this novel around (the explosion and sinking of the steamship Pulaski), and to the overall story Patti Callahan wove in order to tell it to its best advantage. Making this a dual-timeline tale was the right choice because it allows us perspective on a historical event that we wouldn't have had if we'd stayed in the year 1838. The contemporary character journey was intricately tied to the historical thread, and explores all ...more
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Absolutely captivating! Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan explores the will of the human spirit to survive, regardless of what life throws at you. Weaving together the past and the present, that feel synchronous in a city like Savannah, where history seems not so far gone and where mysteries still lurk, waiting to be uncovered.

Based on the real shipwreck of the steamship Pulaski which is often considered the Titanic of the south, Surviving Savannah reads like the best sort of unputdownable fi
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Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels and podcast host. She is the recipient of The Christy Award 2019 Winner “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019. She is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online Friends and Fiction live web show ...more

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