Larchmont tragedy recounted in book
“On February 11, 1907, 156 men, women, and children boarded the passenger steamship Larchmont in Providence, Rhode Island, for an overnight cruise to New York City. By the following morning, 137 of them were dead — drowned, frozen, or scalded to death — and the ship sat in the muck at the bottom of the Block Island Sound. Millard, Sadie, George, and Anna were aboard the steamer that day. This is their story.” — From “Frozen Voices.”
A few years ago, Lynne Heinzmann, a long-time Rhode Island resident, was surfing the internet, curious about what historical events had happened on her birthday, Feb. 11. One website listed the brief entry, “1907: Passenger ship Larchmont sinks off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, hundreds die.” Having lived in Rhode Island for more than 25 years, she was surprised that she had never heard of the Larchmont. Lynne wrote a query letter to the editor of a local magazine, asking if he would be interested in an article about the disaster. The editor agreed, so she began extensive research into the facts of the event.
After the article appeared in the February 2009 issue of Rhode Island Home, Living and Design Magazine, Lynne continued to investigate the topic and pondered what people involved in the tragedy — especially those who died that evening — would like us to remember about them. “If their voice could be heard now, what would they say?” Her response to this question became the novel, “Frozen Voices,” which tells the stories of four people who boarded the ship that night: two women and two men, two who lived and two who died.
In 2015, “Frozen Voices” won the Fairfield Book Prize for Literature.
On Sunday, March 11, at 3 p.m., Lynne will give a presentation/reading of “Frozen Voices” at Island Bound Bookstore. She will do a slideshow about the history contained in the book, read a few brief excerpts, and answer questions. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. This free event is co-sponsored by Island Bound Bookstore and the Island Free Library. All are welcome to attend. For additional information, visit the author’s website: www.LynneHeinzmann.com.