Set the Stars Alight, by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House, 2020)
Lyrical, beautiful, heart-warming and satisfying, Set the Stars Alight is a must-read.
Page one welcomed me in like I was coming home.
Before I even reached that page, the dedication spoke to me—the part about wonder:
Hang on to it, brave ones.
And more—hang on to the Giver of it.
Though darkness may fall and times grow hard,
hold fast to this given light. [Kindle location 45]
Timely words for a hard year like 2020.
The novel follows two timelines: 1987 – 2020 and the 1800s during the Napoleonic wars, each revealing what’s needed to understand the other. It’s not choppy, switching timelines each chapter; instead, the story flows in segments with time enough to settle in place and care about the people involved.
In the contemporary thread, childhood friends Lucy and Dashel reunite as adults in a quest to locate a legendary shipwreck in the English Channel. The historical thread follows Frederick, a landowner’s son, and the young lovers Juliette and Elias.
Some of the many lines I highlighted in the book are sparks of light to hold close:
Taking note of the good, the true, the just, the miracles hidden at every turn is like…a deliberate act of defiance against the darkness. [Lucy’s father, Kindle location 431]
Such freedom, to know our limits. And to know the God who has none. [Clara, Kindle location 3347]
Others are just beautiful:
The woman had a way of almost gliding—not in the graceful, practiced way of the ladies of gothic novels, but rather more like an apparition gliding over ice. [Kindle location 1625]
Set the Stars Alight is a novel of love and loyalty, friendship and faith, that encourages wonder and affirms the value of everyday actions and individual lives. As an added bonus, readers who loved Amanda Dykes’ debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, will welcome the quiet nod to that book in chapter 25.
For more about author Amanda Dykes, visit amandadykes.com.
[Review copy provided by the publisher via #NetGalley.]