Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
My Review: Night of a Thousand Stars is a follow-up novel to City of Jasmine but with different characters. It is a stand alone novel, where you don’t have to read the prequel. The protagonist of the story is Poppy Hammond, who is the niece of Lady Julia, the protagonist in the Lady Julia mystery novels. In this novel, Poppy is a runaway bride who jilts a wealthy, boring aristocrat at the altar. A priest named Sebastian Cantrip helps her escape by driving her from London to Derbyshire, where her father lives. Her father helps her call off the wedding, and she lives with him for some time. Life begins to be boring for her and her maid, Masterman, so she decides to go to London to thank Mr. Cantrip only to find that no one has heard from him. He leaves clues to his whereabouts in the Middle East, and Poppy and her maid go off on an adventure to the Middle East to search for him.
I have to say that most of the times I found Poppy quite annoying. She is quite immature, irresponsible, and stupid. Reading the story from her perspective, I was always ahead of her and it was very irritating and makes the story a bit dull to read. It is clear that she wouldn’t even have made it to the Middle East, if it wasn’t for her Masterman. Masterman was always a step ahead of Poppy, and she was one of my favorite characters because her actions reflects the readers. Another character that I deserve to mention that steals the book was Poppy’s dad. He was a funny character. He is a boorish character that loves peace and quiet and likes to insult his ex-wife, yet it is clear that he holds authority and quickly resolves the problem of his daughter’s running away from her wedding.
Overall, the story is filled with mystery, adventure, friendship, and romance. As for the plot, it was pretty predictable. The twists and turns of the book is no surprise because the reader is always ahead of the narrator. Though the book tries to be funny, I didn’t really find much humor in it, only silliness which led to annoyance. The reason of this is because of the narrator. Had it been a different narrator, I would have enjoyed it much more. One thing I liked about the book was the setting. The author brilliantly paints a realistic portrait of the Middle East, and I felt that I was there with Poppy. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in mystery, adventure, historical fiction, and romance. I suggest that you should read City of Jasmine first because I didn’t read it and the references to the novel went over my head. I also suggest you read Improbable Women: Five Who Explored the Middle East by William Woods Cotterman because it gives you biographies of Hester Stanhope and Jane Digby, because they are Poppy’s role models in the novel. By reading about these famous women, you will appreciate these women much more when they are mentioned in Night of a Thousand Stars.
Rating 3 out of 5 stars
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About the Author
A sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio, where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel. After three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time.
Deanna Raybourn is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Lady Julia series, as well as, The Dead Travel Fast, A Spear of Summer Grass, and City of Jasmine.
For more information please visit Deanna Raybourn's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.