on Nov. 20, 2013 :
A GIFT FROM THE STARS
Sweeping, Sparkling Romance - Would make a wonderful film!
Linda Banche writes superb Regencies, always original and deft and with added 'extras'. She has excelled herself with 'A Gift From The Stars,' a perfect marriage of the subject matter and her witty, appealing writing. There is real depth here and also sparkle, adventure, Christmas romance, space-ships, mysteries of over-worlds, prowling wolves, a healing crystal, gifts, love-choices and more. I devoured it and noted eagerly that the novel is the first of many.
The hero, scarred, wounded Jon, is a man everyone might wish for. Elizabeth is a lively, intelligent woman who stands up for what she believes in and for others - including Jon at a Christmas party when two Regency 'ladies' are less than kind because of his scarred, brooding appearance. Throughout the novel, Jon and Elizabeth join forces and defend each other against spiteful, narrow opinions and malicious, small-minded people, which is lovely. They are true partners and I was cheering them on.
Linda Banche also draws very appealing secondary characters. I hope Luc and Mr Armstrong (who for a time is a strong contender for Elizabeth's affections) both figure later in stories of their own. The rivalry in love between Jon and Mr Armstrong is engaging and realistic and Mr Armstrong is an interesting, honourable man. The scenes between him and Elizabeth are well drawn and at times most touching.
Stars are present throughout this story. Both Jon and Elizabeth are star-gazers and their interest in astronomy enhances the romance. (If you don't believe me, just read the deliciously sensual scenes where they are leaning close together, studying the two-tailed comet and the Gemini.) There are several mysteries connected with the stars, which gives the story a delightful other-worldly feel and ending, a perfect coda after a thrilling, dangerous climax.
'Should be made into a film' is a comment that is often made. In this case I think it is true. As a Christmas romance, as an adventure, as a compassionate and wry look at people, as a whirl of Regency manners, dances, feasts, gowns, artful conversation and growing love, 'A Gift From the Stars' makes a perfect read.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)