Author: Amanda Dykes
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Lucy Clairmont's family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it's Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she's discovered in her family home.
Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.
As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers--and the healing--they so desperately seek.
Reviewer: Winnie Thomas
Amanda Dykes has once again written a magical, delightfully exquisite split-time novel that completely captivated me. With a setting in England and two stories aligning in different centuries—the early 1800s and contemporary—the author has masterfully unfolded the stories layer by layer until they meld together perfectly for a powerful ending.
The characters are carefully drawn, realistic, and very endearing. The stellar cast of secondary characters adds to the mystical charm of the tale. Richly painted settings, descriptive storytelling, and fascinating historical insight brought the story to life. The author's lyrical, poetic prose enchanted me with its beauty and brilliance.
"Outside, the air slapped his cheeks with coolness and cleared his head."
"And now . . . it felt like home again. Because family, gathered from odd corners of the earth and pieced together in growing friendship, was here."
"This was a place of impossible. And what a beautiful impossible it was."
There is a great spiritual depth to this book, with themes of Biblical truth, family, hope, healing, and the worth of a single soul. I found myself highlighting sentences and whole paragraphs. When I finished, I immediately wanted to reread it to savor it and find the hidden layers.
"A single life can make more of a difference than we can possibly imagine."
"In a world as dark as this, people forget how to see the light, so we need to remind them by telling the truth, paying attention. . . setting the stars alight."
This author's debut book, Whose Waves These Are, was my favorite book from last year. I've recommended it to countless people and even bought several copies to give for gifts. I'm sure Set the Stars Alight will be one of my top reads from this year. It's bound for my keeper shelf. For a delightful, enchanting, beautifully written story, you'll want to grab this one and savor every word.
I received this book courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
I have read many books. Some of them have made me laugh, cry and sigh with contentment as I read the last line. Many were well-written and "keepers" to be reread. None have left me with the feeling that I had just read a book that could be deemed a classic.
Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes is exquisitely written. The author draws you into her magical wonderland, and you are instantly transported to a small cottage in Candlewick Commons, London, England. The home of a watchmaker, his wife and his daughter Lucy. While set in the year 2000, stepping into the cottage is like stepping back further in time and the reader, along with our main character Lucy and her best friend Dash, listen to her father, the watchmaker, tell his stories. Never realizing he was giving them riddles to solve that would one day bring them together on a quest they would never have imagined possible.
I loved how the author transitioned from the present to the past and back again, mixing the story of the HMS Jubilee with the riddles Lucy's father had carefully laid out for her and Dash in stories over the years. Each somehow connected to the other, but all connected with finding the light.
The themes of sacrifice, redemption and finding the light in the darkness become more evident as the two stories collide in an ending that will stay with you long after the final page is read. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is inspiring and enchanting.
I received this book courtesy of Bethany House through Netgalley.
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