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Monday, April 22, 2019

Review: A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd

Title: A Song for the Stars
Author: Ilima Todd
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publish Date: April 2, 2019
Source: Library



What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaiʻi, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.
 
But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him die, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.
 
John has been Captain James Cook’s translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with her homeland and her people—and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John’s guilt over the death he caused, and Maile’s guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle—a secret she’s kept hidden from everyone on the island.
 
When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one."

My Two Cents:

"A Song for the Stars" is the story of Maile, daughter of a Hawaiian chief, and John, the translator for the famous Captain James Cook. Both of them are from very different worlds with very different cultures. At first, neither one really understands each other. Through a series of events and misunderstandings, they are thrown together in ways that they can't begin to understand. 

The relationship between Maile and John was so interesting to watch unfold. Both of them start out knowing nothing about each other's culture at all so they teach each other. Neither one of them can believe that they're forming a tenuous friendship (but a friendship nonetheless) with each other. It will astonish their family and friends and it may even push them away but they can't help it. I really liked the addition of John's journal entries, which give us a lot of insight into what he's feeling and going through at different parts in the book.

The book takes place in the late 1700s when European explorers roamed the earth finding "new" lands. I loved all of the detail that the author infused into the story. I love reading about Hawaii - it truly has amazing history but I think this might be one of the first books that I have ever read that was set during this time period. I love how the author captured the friction between the Hawaiians and the Europeans. 

Overall, this was an interesting read with a lot of good detail!


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