I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn
Also by this author: Silent In The Grave, Silent In The Sanctuary, Silent on the Moor, City of Jasmine
Published by MIRA on 2014-09-30
Genres: 20th Century, Fiction, Historical, Romance
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New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn returns with a Jazz Age tale of grand adventure On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat's wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing—she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father's quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than it seems. With only her feisty lady's maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognita—east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan—one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, that she holds dear.
The thing that I love about Deanna Raybourn’s books is that she writes these female characters who defy historical convention. She writes in such a way that once I start her books, I am captivated and am unable to focus on reading anything else until the very end. Her latest book, Night Of A Thousand Stars is one that I added to my OMG MUST READ THIS TBR pile immediately after finishing City Of Jasmine, a book that had me closing the covers and popping over to goodreads to see what is next. Just as Evie and Julia are headstrong and vivacious women, Poppy is quite the winsome character. I loved that Night Of A Thousand Stars takes us back to Damascus and brings us on a journey that weaves her 1920s mysteries together with her Lady Julia Grey mysteries. Reading this book was like receiving the ultimate reader payoff.
Night Of A Thousand Stars opens up with main character Poppy Hammond in a wedding dress, about to get married to an aristocrat named Gerald. Only, Poppy does not feel very strongly about Gerald. So, she’s talking to this curate named Sebastian, when she decides she can’t go through with the marriage and needs to escape. So, Poppy begs Sebastian to drive her to her estranged father’s house. Her father is someone that we’ve all met before, assuming you have read the Lady Julia books. There, Poppy realizes that something has to give. She takes some time to enjoy the countryside with her sassy lady’s maid called Masterman. Meanwhile, Poppy finds herself in desperate need to thank Sebastian, so, she tries to find him only to discover that he is halfway across the world in Damascus. A scheme involving posing as someone in need of a job occurs, and we see Poppy torn in her loyalties and about to embark on a grand desert adventure as she is set upon finding Sebastian.
Poppy is a girl with a bit of moxie. I cannot help but love that character trait. She is headstrong. She is very vocal with her opinions. She’s got this tendency to overtalk, much to comedic effect. I really loved her as a character. I loved that she did not quite know her place in the world and did not have one thing that made her tick. She is the sort of person who takes all these classes and doesn’t finish them. She starts projects and doesn’t finish them. She is still searching for her passion. And so, Night Of A Thousand Stars is the story of Poppy really finding herself and ultimately what makes her tick out in the desert.
Sebastian Fox is quite the dashing hero. As you may have surmised from reading previous Deanna Raybourn books, Fox is not the curate that he pretends to be. The reader, along with Poppy, slowly gets to unravel Sebastian’s identity as we journey through the pages. He has some of the story’s focus, but again, the spotlight is primarily on Poppy. Sebastian is quite calm and has this unassuming manner. It’s one that we might mistake for weakness, which works in his favor. I loved seeing the intricacies and layers to his character. I loved seeing this instant spark and attraction between Poppy and Sebastian. Yet, that spark does not manifest immediately. So, it’s like this book has instant love, but not to the point where it is immediately acted upon. I loved the trajectory of Poppy and Sebastian’s romance. It makes this perfect sense as you read.
What I also really loved about Deanna Raybourn’s latest book is that it does not stay in England. Instead, we get to move beyond England to the exciting Damascus setting. I loved reading about the various people and ex-patriots that Poppy and Masterman come across in Damascus. I loved reading about the desert. Raybourn has this real sense of place in her writing. Reading this book makes me want to book both a plane ticket and a time machine. I mean, she touches briefly upon the issues of imperialism at the time and delves into a eurocentric viewpoint. Still, she makes the desert seem deeply romantic.
Night Of A Thousand Stars was a relatively quick read for me. I read this book over the course of three days. I will admit that the beginning of the book takes some time to get going. I mean, the story really picks up when Poppy and Masterman leave England. That is where all the intrigue occurs. I did love all of the connections that this book presents between this series and the Lady Julia books. I did think there were some parts that dragged on. I did really enjoy the romance, but I was not feeling it as much as I did Evie and Gabriel. Alas, this was still a book that I feel totally comfortable recommending to you if you enjoy globetrotting historical romances with a bit of espionage thrown in for flavoring.
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