Roll Back the Clouds, my new novel about the Lusitania, releases on March 17. Many of the passengers aboard the ill-fated, final voyage appear alongside main characters, Geoff and Rosaleen Bonnard. I’ll be profiling several of them here. This week, meet the Pearl family.
Surgeon-Major Warren Pearl serviced with the Medical Corps in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. After he married Amy Lea Duncan in 1909, he retired from the military. While vacationing in Europe in 1914, their third child, Susan, was born, and the Pearls recruited Alice Lines to help with the children.
While they were in Denmark, Dr. Pearl went back to England, hoping to enroll Stuart, their eldest, at Eton. On his return to Denmark through Lübeck, Germany, he was arrested by the Germans on suspicion of spying for England. He was, after all, wearing English tweeds and carrying a copy of the London Times. He telegrammed his wife to come at once. While she was away, Alice Lines hired a Danish girl, Greta Lorenson, to assist with the children.
In the spring of 1915, Pearl was ordered to report to the American Embassy in London. The family traveled on the Lusitania. After the ship was torpedoed, Warren and Amy became separated from the children and their nurses on the crowded decks. When the ship sank, they were thrown into the sea. Both were pulled into lifeboats. They were reunited in Queenstown, and later found Alice Lines with 5-year-old Stuart and 3-month-old Audrey. No trace was ever found of Greta Lorenson, 3-year-old Amy (called Bunny), and 15-month-old Susan.
|Survivors Audrey and Stuart Pearl|
In Roll Back the Clouds, Rosaleen Bonnard is in the same lifeboat as Alice Lines with Stuart and baby Audrey.