Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher to review. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. I receive a very small commission if you purchase something through an affiliate link.
A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd
Release date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Inspired by a true story
Hawaiian Islands, 1779
As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaii, 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.
Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and I especially enjoy when the books are based on true stories. It was an added bonus that this story was inspired by the author’s own ancestors and that it took place in the beautiful, unique setting of 18th century Hawaii.
I loved the unique setting and now I am really longing for a trip to a rural island to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes it has to offer.
Maile was a wonderful main character with all her strength and passion. I found it so fascinating to watch two cultures collide as they were introduced for the first time and all the difficulties and benefits it presented. The love story that developed between two very different backgrounds was very sweet to watch.
This story has been described as Moana meets Pocahontas and I definitely felt that vibe for it, as well as bringing its own unique aspects.