The last book I read by Deanna Raybourn was the Lady Julia mystery, Dark Road To Darjeeling, because it took place in India. I liked it very much. So I thought it was possible that a Deanna Raybourn book taking place in the Middle East might be just as welcome. That's why I requested Night of a Thousand Stars from Net Galley, and this is my honest review.
I admit that I found the central character, Poppy March, somewhat sympathetic at the outset. She was running away from her wedding. It would have been a very tedious marriage, after all. Yet I couldn't imagine why she waited until the wedding to decide that she couldn't go through with it. I also enjoyed the eccentricity of her artist father as well as the background about the unconventional March family. I don't consider these details spoilers. This is the set up at the opening of the book.
Look before you leap is very sound advice. Unfortunately, it's also advice that Poppy never heeded. Another way of putting it is that she never thought through anything before acting. I was exasperated by the fact that she didn't seem to learn from experience. After a while, I started considering her appalling rather than appealing.
So Poppy March gallivants recklessly through all sorts of dangers, but people who probably should know better think that she has potential. At the head of this list would be Sebastian, the hero of the narrative. He introduces himself to Poppy with the unlikely surname of Cantrip. The second definition of cantrip in The Free Dictionary is a mischievous trick. If I were Poppy, it would have immediately occurred to me that this is a pseudonym. Sebastian is rather mysterious, but definitely dependable. If it weren't for Sebastian, I doubt that Poppy would have survived all her risk taking.
Lady Hester Stanhope, a historical personage who was an adventurer in the Middle East, is mentioned a number of times in this book. I imagine that Deanna Raybourn thinks that readers should consider Poppy akin to Lady Hester. In my opinion, Poppy wasn't in Lady Hester's league. Please read a biography of Lady Hester Stanhope. She garnered respect while defying conventions, and expanded possibilities for women. She was the real deal because she made an effort to understand the people of the region. She didn't just blunder her way through Syria and Palestine.
Deanna Raybourn seems to have created a more successful woman adventurer in the aviatrix and explorer Evangeline Merriweather Starke, who is mentioned in Night of a Thousand Stars but never actually appears. She certainly sounds like a character that I would have preferred over Poppy. Evangeline is the central character of City of Jasmine. It definitely looks like I read the wrong book.
The resolution of Night of a Thousand Stars was from my perspective totally incredible. By this I mean that I couldn't believe it for a moment. I won't reveal the specifics, but the idea that Poppy belongs in a responsible position where lives might be riding on her decisions seems like a spectacularly foolish notion. It sounds more like Poppy's own wish fulfillment fantasy than a realistic possibility.
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Night of a Thousand Stars Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, September 29
Review & Giveaway at Bookish
Tuesday, September 30
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, October 1
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, October 2
Review at Ramblings From This Chick
Friday, October 3
Review at Book Babe
Monday, October 6
Review at Unabridged Chick
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Tuesday, October 7
Review at Candace’s Book Blog
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, October 8
Review at Good Books and Good Wine
Thursday, October 9
Excerpt at A Book Geek
Guest Post & Giveaway at Good Books and Good Wine
Friday, October 10
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, October 13
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, October 14
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 15
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Thursday, October 16
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, October 17
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Monday, October 20
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Excerpt at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, October 21
Review & Giveaway at Bookshelf Fantasies
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing
Wednesday, October 22
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, October 23
Review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, October 24
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Monday, October 27
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, October 28
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Wednesday, October 29
Review & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please
Thursday, October 30
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry