Local author Mary Wernke’s debut novel Beyond the Titanic was celebrated recently with a launch party at the Knight Museum.

Family, friends, and supporters of Wernke along with anyone else that wanted to attend were invited to the Titanic-themed party. Some guests were inspired by the theme and dressed up in costumes, which was encouraged.

With the help of her daughter, Karen Boysen decorated a white sheet and showed up to the party as the iceberg.

Alliance High School drama students McKenna Ruffing and Carter Haskell dressed as Margaret Mannion and Vincent Sloane, the lead characters of the book.

When guests arrived at the party they were asked to stick a sticker on the globe where they thought the Titanic sank and also how many pages were in Wernke’s book. Winners of those contests were Johnna Wood and Karen Boysen.

The book is a heart-wrenching tale of tragedy and hope.

Wernke describes the book in this synopsis, “Southampton, 1912, Margaret and her fiancé had great hopes for their voyage across the sea.

“Sailing the Titanic from Ireland was meant to be the beginning of their lives together. But Margaret's world changes forever when the famed ship sinks and drowns her only love.

“Alone in an unforgiving New York, Margaret looks for inner strength at a time when the women around her hunt for equal rights. As a second chance for romance emerges, the Irish immigrant's societal status and the emergence of The Great War could yield trauma all over again.

“Will Margaret create a new life for herself, or will her painful past doom her to remain second class?

“Beyond the Titanic is a historical novel based on a true story. If you like strong women, political intrigue, and 1900's society settings, then you'll love Mary Wernke's heart-wrenching tale.”

Wernke was inspired to write the book when another Mannion cousin who lived in Colorado mentioned Margaret on the clan website. Her mother and grandmother were also inspirations as they were both writers.

“I like a challenge, to learn new things and accomplish a big goal,” Wernke said.

In August, Wernke will be traveling to Caltra, Ireland for a book signing at Keary’s Pub. Caltra is in County Galway which was home to Margaret Mannion.

The book club that Wernke belongs to and is sponsored by the Alliance Library is reading her book for their 100th book anniversary.  

Beyond the Titanic are available for purchase here at The Ledger office in Hemingford or at Newberry’s in Alliance. Copies are available for checkout at both the Hemingford and Alliance libraries. The book is also available for purchase on any of your electronic reading devises.

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