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Daughter of the Stars

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  561 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
"Were they all lying? Misleading me for their own purposes?..."
Lacey Elliot has been a woman without a past since the day her mother whisked her off to Charlottesville, refusing for thirty years to speak of her father, her family, or her history.
But when Lacey intercepts a desperate letter from an aunt in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Lacey sees her chance to confront the
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Ivy Books (first published 1994)
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Jan 10, 2016 Pat rated it it was amazing
I used to read Phyllis A. Whitney's books on a regular basis and always enjoyed them. I ran across this one that I had not read a few days ago and brought it home. I loved it! It turned out to have several of my favorite elements: a twisted tale involving quite a few characters - one family, in particular - in the present day linked to people involved in events that took place generations ago, ties to a place and an event I have heard about since childhood, a mysterious cover-up perpetrated ove ...more
Jun 05, 2008 Nikki rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This, along with The Golden Unicorn by the same author, are what my grandmother used to call "Woman in Front of the House Books" from the standard cover art of a young woman in flowing garments posed in front of a large, spooky-looking house. The technical name is romantic suspense, and Phyllis A. Whitney was a master of the genre (in fact she was named a Grand Master by the MWA in 1988). When Whitney died recently at age 104, I realized I hadn't read anything of hers since junior high (she als ...more
Sheryl Tribble
Feb 19, 2016 Sheryl Tribble rated it liked it
Enjoyed the history and local color (Harper's Ferry, WV), and the plot was interesting enough.

On the downside, the prose often felt amateurish. It was not painfully bad, but frequently more awkward than Whitney's contemporaries Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt ever got. Still looking for an American author of this genre who writes with their skill and authority.

But Whitney, although she doesn't write "keepers," is entertaining enough until I find her.

Nov 17, 2013 Loie rated it it was ok
Shelves: summer-reads
With not much substance this was an easy read. Set in Harper's Ferry it could be considered a historical romance. If it is true, or has some truth, you could learn a lot about John Brown. Lacey Elliot learns about her past, the murder of her father, her great grandmother, great aunt and her half-sister.
Jenn Estepp
2 1/2, rounded up because it seems like Whitney was an interesting, accomplished lady. If anyone has recommended titles let me know please - I've read two so far and am lukewarm, at best, on them, but would like to read something by her that I loved.
Jacqueline O.
I used to read a lot of Phyllis A. Whitney's books in junior high and high school. I eventually stopped reading them because they all seemed the same.
This summer I've been reading some of my "read someday" pile, and I was in the mood for some very light reading. This is the third book I've read in the "light reading/romance" category. I probably got it through book-of-the-month club or The Literary Guild, and it's one of four Whitney novels I found sitting there on a shelf.
The novel starts with
Lacey Elliott has grown up with no family other than her mother Amelia, who refuses to reveal any information about their past. Then a letter comes, begging Amelia to return to Harpers Ferry, but Amelia, recovering from a cancer operation, cannot go. Lacey takes her place so she can learn about her family, which turns out to be all shades of surprising, warm, cold, dangerous, and tangled up in old history. As she learns more and meets more members of her family, she is determined to find out wha ...more
Libby Anderson
Sep 15, 2016 Libby Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book. I loved how the author intertwined true history with the fictional story. I love Harper's Ferry, so this book was great to read and picture where each plot took place. I am anxious to other books by this author.
Jun 06, 2013 Akanksha rated it it was amazing
I know.....I read a book by an old author and I am guessing very few or actually not a single teenager like me has probably read her book. Well I must say this book was mind blowing.. I thought it would be boring to death but not that bad... My grandpa and I read it and he explained me at times when the plot made no sense to me... Its a adult book so the vocabulary was hard for me to comprehend. I thought it would be a romantic book but it actually was suspense and I LOVE suspense books.. One of ...more
❂ Jennifer
Sep 18, 2014 ❂ Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Window on the Square is an absolute favorite of mine and I think it set a rather high bar for the rest of Ms. Whitney's writings. Still, this was a good read, excellently written in a way I just don't see in cozy/traditional mysteries any more. A very solid murder mystery, albeit a very weak romantic sub-plot. I'll look for more of her books, and hope I find the ones more reminiscent of WotS.

Full review:
Jul 09, 2013 Joyce rated it it was amazing
Not sure how I found Whitney but absolutely love reading her books. They are difficult to find so now I'm on a quest for more of her books (I might have one or two stashed, will have to check). This story had me on the edge from the first few pages. As with the mystery she even threw a bit of romance in the midst. Was surprised at the ending -- especially since I always try to figure out the end as I'm reading along. Another great book by Whitney!
Aug 21, 2010 ara133photography rated it really liked it
I went through a period of time where I read Phyllis Whitney books back to back - I chain-read her books! Her writing style appeals to me, and these books make a great summer day in the park type read, or a good story to curl up with on a rainy day. The only drawback is the plots are all pretty similar (girl is usually trying to solve a family mystery and finds an attractive yet scary man, etc.) and I can't remember which is which! I liked them all, however.
Dayna Smith
Sep 08, 2016 Dayna Smith rated it liked it
Lacey's mother took her away from her family in Harper's Ferry after the murder of her father. She has never told Lacey anything about her father or the existence of her family. When she intercepts a letter from her aunt to her mother begging her mother to come home, Lacey decides to go herself. Once there, she discovers she has more family than she has ever imagined, and is confronted with the truth about her father's death. If you are a Whitney fan, you will love this book also.
Dec 21, 2010 Yvonne rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Daughter of the Stars is the meaning of the word shennedoah. The story is set at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia where the Shennedndoah river becomes part of the Potomac. It threads the pre-civial war history of the area through the mystery that makes up the story.

Whitney was a master story teller. I had forgotten how skilfull she was and how wonderfully satisfying it is to read one of her stories.
Apr 04, 2014 Gazala rated it it was ok
Boring! Such a slow moving yet convoluted book - much ado about nothing. There is no objective correlative to the actions of the characters. The murder happened 30 years ago, Lacey's mother hides her past from her daughter all of her life and then suddenly sends her off to meet her family when she hears that the alleged murderer of her husband is back in town. Why?? Lacey falls in love with a man who she's just met, but there's no romance. One of Phyllis Whitney's worst books!
May 13, 2011 Jeanette rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was a great mystery that also included some excellent American history and some romance. Definitely kept my attention riveted to every word. She surely deserved 'The Grand Master' award. It made a portion of the early stages of the U.S. civil war easy to visualize. I highly recommend this book. (given to me by my good friend Gail Griffith)
I love historical fiction that marries current happenings with situations that played an important part in history. This novel harkens back to John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia and the repercussions of an area that had brothers and friends fighting on opposing side.

I am interested in researching other novels written by this author.
Aug 31, 2008 Arthur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I had fun reading especially at the beginning. Then it began to drag a bit, like you’d notice this in a not very long book or long ending. But it challenges to perfection. The kind of writing readers all enjoy.
Jan 19, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
I was raised on Phyllis Whitney since she was a favorite author of my mother.

This is a quick little read, not too much on the mystery but great on local history since I live in the area it takes place.
Jan 03, 2010 Elicia rated it it was ok
This wins an award - for sitting on my bookshelf the longest, about 15 years, without being read. Nothing exciting, it probably should have just stayed there.
Has some history of the abolitionist John Brown.
Jun 16, 2008 Trudy rated it it was ok
Finally finished this book! I should have listened to myself halfway through and not bothered finishing it!

I went to the Library with out a list of books from "Good Reads", and I have always loved a good romance mystery!
Diane Wachter
HB-M @ 1994, 10/99. After receiving a letter from an unknown great aunt, a young woman travels to Harpers Ferry, VA where her father's killer has returned.
Aug 01, 2013 Christine rated it it was ok
Trudged thru it but would not read anything by this author again. Felt like I was reading a Nancy Drew book.
Jul 18, 2009 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The only thing I loved about this book (why I got it) was because it was based in Harpers Ferry, and told a lot about our little town.
Jun 08, 2012 Violet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not a bad book. Pretty typical, although I never thought the killer was who it turned out to be. The book kinda plodded along til Henry turns up dead and then it just flies to the end.
Jun 15, 2010 Barb rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Part travelogue, part mystery. You feel like you have visited whatever location she has set the book in and it is an informative visit.
DK Hoffman
Feb 22, 2016 DK Hoffman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I had forgotten what an amazing author Phyllis Whitney was. She crafts incredible stories with fascinating and very real characters.
Aug 15, 2008 Breezy rated it it was ok
I didn't know until the end who the murderer was, that was good. But just felt annoyed with all the characters, so only giving it two stars.
Barbara Woodford
May 06, 2014 Barbara Woodford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the story. It kept the reader guessing all the way to the end. The ending was completely unexpected.
Oct 23, 2012 Rachel rated it liked it
This is my second book by Ms. Whitney, and they are not terrible. However, I do feel like the ending has been very rushed and anti-climatic in both books.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
Phyllis Ayame Whitney (September 9, 1903 – February 8, 2008) was an American mystery writer. Rare for her genre, she wrote mysteries for both the juvenile and the adult markets, many of which feature exotic locations. A review in The New York Times once dubbed her "The Queen of the American Gothics".

She was born in Japan to American parents and spent her ear
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