Titanic Survivor and Lifeboat Hero

Ruth Becker loved her life in Guntur, India. As the twelve-year-old daughter of American missionaries, India was the only home she’d ever known. But when the local doctors were unable to find a cure for her baby brother’s illness, her mother decided it was time to take the children to their grandparents in Michigan and leave India permanently.

Ruth’s father, Reverend Allen Becker, asked to leave his post as the mission’s orphanage director, but his request was denied. In order to ensure his family was as safe and comfortable as possible for the long voyage across the Atlantic, Reverend Becker splurged on second class tickets for them on a brand new, luxurious ship: the RMS Titanic.


Ruth barely had time to say goodbye to her friends and her beloved father before leaving for the journey across India, then sailing for England and boarding the doomed ship in Southampton. When the Titanic struck an iceberg and began sinking four days later, Ruth was literally thrown into a lifeboat full of strangers at the last minute. Not knowing the whereabouts of her mother, brother and sister, Ruth managed to help an injured crew member, share her blankets with those who had none, and comfort a non-English speaking mother whose husband had remained on board the ship.

My yet-to-be-published novel, The Stars in April, is based on the true story of Ruth Becker, gleaned from her memoirs and hundreds of eyewitness accounts from one of the greatest tragedies in history. I hope to be able to share Ruth’s story one day with all of you.

What questions do you have about my research for The Stars in April? Next Monday, May 5, I’ll post about my writing process as part of a blog tour. I’ll also introduce three writers who will discuss their own writing processes on their blogs the following week. Sign up and follow so you won’t miss it!

6 Comments on “Titanic Survivor and Lifeboat Hero

    • Hi Ashley, I first heard about Ruth when Googling Titanic passenger names for a Facebook party! The “party” took place in April 2012 to mark the 100th anniversary of when the Titanic sailed. Attendees could choose to be a real passenger, and I chose Ruth because I wanted to be a child and because her parents came from Michigan, like me. Then I just decided to find out more about her. When I read about the details of her heroic efforts in the lifeboat, I wondered how a twelve-year-old girl, in the middle of terrifying circumstances, could do those things. The pieces came together, and I knew I had to write the story. Thank you for asking! I’m so glad you liked the post.

  1. I can’t wait to see your book in print, Peggy! So many people who know about the Titanic tragedy know so little about its survivors, especially a young girl whose faith in God helped her show His love to strangers in dire circumstances.

    • Thank you, Deb! It always amazes me what people are able to do when they call on God in the middle of impossible situations. I appreciate your encouragement, as always!

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