The second exciting, romantic addition to the Christie family series!
Esteemed astronomer Alex Christie, the eldest and most steadfast of the Christie siblings, has never possessed his late father’s ruthless business drive. But to protect his frail infant son from his cruel father-in-law’s bid for custody, the young widower must undertake Sir William Christie’s posthumous million-dollar challenge: to make a Glasgow cotton mill profitable. At sea in an industrial world of sabotage and union agitation, Alex meets Polly Gowan, daughter of a famed union leader, who hopes to seize a mysterious saboteur without involving the police.
Because a sympathetic mill master would aid her cause, Polly becomes Alex’s guide to urban Scotland. From soccer games to pub brawls, Alex sees another side of life, and feels free for the first time to reveal the man–vital and strong–behind his intellectual exterior. Polly is utterly seduced. Their ambitions, however, remains at odds: Alex vows to earn the mill bonus to save his child, while Polly fights for the needs of her people. Is there strength enough in their sparkling passion to bind them together in their quests–and in a lasting love that conquers all?
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
As I have mentioned before I tend to be on the look out for good historical romances. When we were offered a chance to review Starlight I didn’t bother to find the back cover blurb nor did I look to see if this was part of a series. I found that out reading Ms Lofty’s guest post. My OCD would have preferred that I started at the beginning but once I cracked open and read the first page I was too impatient to stop and start a new book.
I haven’t read very many books set in this time period. Not to mention it is hard to find historicals set in Europe that don’t involve balls, lords and ladies, or spies. With Starlight Ms Lofty provided an unusual time period, setting and very distinctive characters much to my enjoyment. I remember studying the different phases of the Industrial Revolution and hearing about the abysmal working conditions – not to mention the fact that sometimes the younger and smaller the worker is the more dangerous their jobs were. I also knew that unions had a lot to do with the work benefits people enjoy world-wide today but that was an uphill battle. Much like the struggle for any improved civil rights is.
I felt so sorry for poor Alex. He really didn’t have a clue how to interact with people, what to do as a cotton mill owner, or what to think about Polly who was about as opposite from his deceased wife as you can get. He was bound and determined to fulfill the requirements of his father’s will so that he could keep his infant son safe from his father-in-law. The father-in-law was certainly a well-drawn villain. He shaped so much in Starlight by his written threats and his actions in the past. Watching Alex grow emotionally, learn about the common man and also discover whom he could be was a treat. Yes, there were some occasions when I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into him but he was staying true to his character, and when it was do or die time Alex performed magnificently.
Polly was another complex character. She was torn between her loyalty to her community, her fears about a former suitor and her growing attraction to Alex. As the unofficial leader of the union and depended upon by many others to improve their circumstances Polly rarely had anything to herself. She was also the target of an unscrupulous overseer from a different cotton mill who had other things on his mind then getting a profit from his mill. While Polly continued to maintain her contact with Alex with the mindset of getting him on the side of the union she also enjoyed her interactions with him and did what she could to assist with his issues. One of my favorite scenes with them was the potluck after church followed by a rousing sporting match/brawl.
I really enjoyed the interaction between Polly and Alex. How they both struggled to do what was right while still enjoying their life. On different occasions each did something they knew the other would not like but if they hadn’t it would have betrayed their individual characters. I also really liked how both characters had to work through their personal issues and trust each other at the very end. I do have to say that I am very curious as to what motivated Sir William Christie to phrase his will in such a way. And that I will be reading the rest of the Christies.
I give Starlight a A