Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

Let’s begin with the summary:

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.

And now, my review:

I liked the story’s sometimes rich language and occasional resonance. Unfortunately, the book came up in my TBR pile just after a loss and since the story is heavy with loss in the opening 8 percent, I set the book aside. But that wasn't the only reason I decided to move on.

I found omniscient POV. The characters were difficult to connect to. The split-time story includes both past and present storylines, which I generally enjoy. Unfortunately, the contemporary storyline held on to a historical voice, which seemed odd. There were several instances of “began to” and repeated verb phrases like “were coming” or “been studying.” Those are small things, but they flagged for me in their repetition.

Overall the first part of the story was hard to follow; as I didn’t read on, I don’t know if it becomes easier. Also, since I read the ARC, it’s possible some of those issues were reworked during the rewrite stage.

Though this novel wasn’t for me, I wish the publisher and author all the best.

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