A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd is an unusual and fascinating romance novel. It was inspired by the true story of a British sailor marrying a Hawaiian princess in the late 1700s. The author is a descendant of John Harbottle and Papapaunauapu, who had eight children. Ilima Todd grew up on the island of Oahu.
The author weaves together some historical facts that occurred at different times to make the novel tighter and more informative. For example, Captain James Cook is present in the book, but he visited the Pacific islands at a different time than John Harbottle. She also used her imagination to detail the courtship of her ancestors. The novel focuses on two people from two different cultures learning to understand each other.
Although A Song for the Stars is part of Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance series, it is more of a historical novel than a traditional romance. While the couple do end up together, their courtship is an unusual one. Only at the very end does it even become possible for them to marry. Not only must the princess and the sailor learn to work together, so must the Hawaiians and the British. The author uses Hawaiian words to help set the scene, and a helpful glossary is included at the end.
If you enjoy learning about other cultures and watching as two people come to know, respect, and love each other, you may enjoy A Song for the Stars. It will be released in April 2019 and will be available at the Galesburg Public Library.