A Song for the Stars by Ilima ToddA Song for the Stars Summary

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.


A Song for the Stars Review

I thoroughly enjoyed A Song for the Stars. It was not just a romance novel plopped into a historical setting. Traditional Hawaiian culture and history was integral to this story. The focus was not so much on romance, but on intercultural relationships, challenges and understanding.

Since the story was told from Maile’s point of view, John Harbottle’s journal entries added understanding and perspective from the other side of the story. This gave additional insights into the challenges of vastly differing cultures in a time when such interaction was not at all common.

This is Ms. Todd’s first entry into the historical fiction category, and hopefully not her last. This novel was based on the story of her own ancestors, making it even more appealing. Hopefully, she has more interesting ancestor (or not ancestor) stories to share with us in this genre. She has a visual style of writing which made it easy for me to “see” the island, the village and the ships. It probably doesn’t hurt that I’ve been to Hawaii. I could envision Maile and her family, as well as the British sailors.

While I could guess at the ending, given that it is part of Shadow Mountain Publishing’s Proper Romance series (and being based on the author’s own family history), I could not have guessed at the journey we took to get there. There is plenty of interaction, drama and adventure throughout the story.

Whether you are a fan of historical fiction, or a fan of clean romance, you will enjoy A Song for the Stars.

A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd, is available from Amazon.com in Paperback, Kindle and MP3 audio. It is also available from Deseret Book in Paperback and eBook.

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