I’m delighted to be participating in the blog tour ( courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) for the newest historical fiction release from Deanna Raybourn, author of A Spear of Summer Grass, City of Jasmine, and the Lady Julia Grey mystery series.
| Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical FictionNew 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.
Deanna Raybourn excels at creating strong, sassy heroines with a flair for adventure, who aren’t afraid to break from the confines of society’s expectations and seize life (and love) whenever they get the chance.
Poppy Hammond certainly fits the bill. After her dramatic exit as a runaway bride, Poppy is restless and yearning, knowing only that she needs more in her life. The nice man who helped her flee the wedding is someone she’d like to at least thank for his efforts, leading to an impulsive escapade in which Poppy winds up in Damascus under an assumed identity… right in the midst of political upheaval, treasure hunters, danger and intrigue. Definitely all the ingredients needed to please a girl seeking adventure!
Sebastian is a heroic leading man, insultingly misunderstood by Poppy to start with, only revealing his true character and capabilities to her over time, as they plunge from one dangerous situation to another, fleeing across deserts, hiding out in old ruins, and evading bad guys with a flair that would put Indiana Jones to shame.
As in City of Jasmine, the Middle East of the 1920s offers just the right combination of beauty, danger, and old-timey espionage thrills to make Night of a Thousand Stars a romantic, exciting adventure story. The politics and history of the region in that tumultuous time are well-explained, but never in a way that’s boring or instructional. Instead, the intrigue serves as an exhilarating backdrop to Poppy and Sebastian’s growing flirtation and affections, and the two play off each other marvelously, displaying the mingled exasperation and amusement you might encounter in an old movie à la The African Queen.
While Night of a Thousand Stars works as a stand-alone novel, characters from the author’s earlier works (City of Jasmine, the Lady Julia books) are referenced. There’s no reason that you couldn’t enjoy Night on its own, but if you’re so inclined, I’d recommend reading City of Jasmine (and its companion novella, Whisper of Jasmine) first.
Overall, I found Night of a Thousand Stars to be a fun, engaging, romantic read. If you’re a fan of romantic espionage tales, don’t miss it!
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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.
With thanks to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I’m delighted to be able to offer a paperback edition of Night of a Thousand Stars (available to US residents only). Click the link below to enter: