NIGHT OF A THOUSAND STARS
Sept. 30, 2014
Deanna Raybourn has been one of my favorite authors since the first sentence of her first book, Silent in the Grave:" To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it must be noted, was still twitching upon the floor". I am more sorry than I can say that the Lady Julia series of Victorian era mysteries is coming to an end with a final e-novella due in November.Thankfully, I will be able to reread them as many times as I like and the Brisbanes are still being heard from in the Raybourn's three stand-alone novels set in the 1920s.
Night of a Thousand Stars follows the adventures of Poppy Hammond, who we first meet climbing out the church window in her wedding dress on the day of her wedding to a Viscount. She is interrupted mid-escape by a handsome gentleman in clerical garb, Sebastian Cantrip, who is more than willing to aid her. Poppy's parents were divorced when she was only a toddler and her father lives in Devon. Sebastian drives her down and we find that Poppy's father is none other than Eglamour "Plum" March, brother to Lady Julia. So Poppy Hammond is really Poppy March, one of the "Mad Marches". Poppy's step-father, mother, fiance and new lady's maid, Masterman are in hot pursuit and a heated confrontation results in the final breaking of the engagement. Sebastian makes his exit but Masterman insists on remaining in Poppy's employ. Masterman proves to be both mysterious and remarkably resourceful.
Poppy feels duty bound to find her rescuer and thank him for his help but finds that there is no clergyman named Sebastian Cantrip. What follows is a great adventure involving a retired colonel, his handsome valet, a sinister contessa, her creepy son, spies and a search for ancient treasure in the great Syrian Desert. Sebastian (whose real name is Fox) and Poppy team up to elude their pursuers and find the treasure, as well as what has happened to the missing members of the "Vespiary", a group of espionage agents put together by none other than the Brisbanes. Sebastian includes Poppy reluctantly but she proves up to the challenges they meet. It is very clear however that someone unknown is operating in the background and Masterman is not quite who she appears to be.
Night of a Thousand Stars is a fast-paced and most enjoyable read. The verbal sparring and undeniable attraction between Sebastian and Poppy makes for an often hilarious adventure, part screw-ball comedy, part old-fashioned adventure story. I highly recommend all of Deanna Raybourn's books for readers of historical fiction, mystery and romance.
Thanks to netgalley.com and Harlequin/Mira for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review.
Rating 4.5 stars.