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A Song for the Stars

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Inspired by a true story
Hawaiian Islands, 1779
As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaiʻi, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.
But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a mis
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Shadow Mountain
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4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  75 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

When I review 2019 and my adventures in reading, I am going to have to make a special award for all these stories based on the author's lives. Also I just really need to get myself to Hawaii.

The scene-Hawaii 1799. James Cook's crew has returned to the "Sandwich Islands" and instantly the tension between Europeans and people that inhabit the islands heats up. It is within all this turmoil
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
I loved the way the two perspectives of Maile and John were shared in this book- both in first person perspective, with Maile telling the story and John's through journal entries. Sometimes letters or journals in storytelling makes me hesitant, but the author used it very successfully here, with John's emotions coming out clearly, his sense of wonder over the fascinating culture, his struggles vulnerabilities. Maile has tones of Disney's Moana with her independence, love of the ocean, and loyalt ...more
Katie W
Just over a year ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to visit the Captain Cook monument on the Big Island of Hawaii. We hiked down in and spent several hours enjoying the beauty of the area and the clear, tropical waters and that's all I could picture as I read this beautifully written book.

Maile and John come from such different worlds. I loved how the story was told from Maile's first-person point-of-view, but also alternated with John's journal entries. The writing probably isn't true to
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful story!

First I have to say, how amazing it is for the author to have a record of her ancestors and how they met. My ancestors were so poor they never learned how to read and write. I only have their names because of the excellent way the Catholic church keeps records.

Back to the story. It took me a couple of chapters to warm up to the format (journal entries alternating with 1st person present tense), but I was soon intrigued and couldn't put it down.

The setting is amazing,
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. The cover is stunning and a nice compliment to the book. The descriptions are beautifully done and give and artistry to the story.

John and Maile are two characters that you love from the start. Their cultures are different and that divide caused misunderstandings and heartache. Maile showed her character when she decided to help instead of killing the man who shot her betrothed. I loved how her struggle was described in the book. The book is mainly told from her point o
Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
This story was so lovely. I felt transported to another place and time and my heart expanded with every turn of the page. Knowing that this story was based on the true story of the author's ancestors made it even more intriguing. The whole story felt fresh and new- so unlike all the other books I've been reading lately.

The Hawaiian people have such a rich history. Their culture and customs have always fascinated me. Imagine being from another continent and country and coming across these people
Loved this novel! Beautiful writing and images that linger characterize this unique historical love story. The characters reveal themselves as big-hearted, upright, confused, and yet kind as they seek to bridge two worlds. Though they stumble and cause pain, they ultimately find understanding and love. Hawaiian culture and thinking suffused the story and did not feel like a tacked on history lesson. The author simply pulled me into this lovely world, and I did not want to leave!

Thanks to Ilima
Maile is relieved when James Cook and his sailors leave her beloved Hawaiian island; while most of her people believed Cook to be their god, Lono, Maile wasn't convinced and is glad the men are gone. However, the men soon return--and the islanders aren't so welcoming this time. A battle ensues, and Maile's fiancé Ikaika is killed by one of Cook's men; Maile takes that same man hostage when her life is threatened.
John Harbottle has quickly come to appreciate Hawai'i and its people, so he is sick
Jessica (BookObsessedJess)
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, arcs
What an absolute delight from start to finish. A Song for the Stars is based on factual events that occurred in Hawai'i in the late 1700s. Why don't they teach these things in schools? I would have loved to have learned about the true history of Hawai'i in school, the exploration of it, etc. If only the settlers had brought peace with a desire to learn more about culture instead of war. But, that's another story.

A Song for the Stars follows the complicated story between Maile and John Harbottle
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous story. I love books that create a desire to read anything the author has written. This story was engaging from beginning to end. It covers an area in the 18th century that is not commonly written of. Hawaiian history is amazing. I felt like I was right in the middle of everything. My heart broke when Maile's fiance was killed. Maile's turmoil about John. The difficults the island faced as well as the English sailors. Everything was woven together seamlessly. What an amazing story ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully written story about an English sailor and a Hawaiian princess is a breath of fresh air. I love reading historical fiction and this book is a different type of story to any I have read before. The emotional struggles Maile goes through with the loss of a loved one and threats to her people while trying to figure out what she is feeling towards a foreigner really tugged at me. This is one of those books I didn't want to put down, but I didn't want it to end, either.
Donna Weaver
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaiʻi, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.

But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
"A Song for the Stars" is the story of Maile, daughter of a Hawaiian chief, and John, the translator for the famous Captain James Cook. Both of them are from very different worlds with very different cultures. At first, neither one really understands each other. Through a series of events and misunderstandings, they are thrown together in ways that they can't begin to understand.

The relationship between Maile and John was so interesting to watch unfold. Both of them start out knowing nothing ab
First sentence: I sink lower into the hull of the canoe, pressing my back against the koa wood along the base. My eyes close, eclipsing the stars above me in the night sky. I relax and try to feel the rhythm of the sea.

Premise/plot: The setting for A Song for the Stars is Hawaii in the eighteenth century. Maile, our heroine, is the second daughter of one of the royal chiefs. She's engaged to marry a navigator, Ikaika; they've known each other for ages--but it's love, true love. But life changes
Une histoire sympathique malgré des lenteurs et des détails peu logiques. J’ai aimé les références à la culture hawaiienne même si c’était parfois vraiment bizarre par rapport à nous. L’héroïne m’a fait penser à Vaiana, la princesse Disney du dessin animé, le héros est plus transparent. Mais malheureusement le style est à la 1ere personne du présent, dommage !

Avis complet
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved how new and fresh this story was for the Proper Romance series!
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this book. Such a beautiful story. The characters drew me in and felt so real. The story left me breathless, wondering how things could possibly work out for Maile and John. And I especially loved learning about the Hawaiian culture. While there are many differences between two such cultures as England and Hawaii, there are also many similarities. The themes of love and forgiveness and working together really spoke to me. I highly recommend this one.
Kelly-Jo Sweeney
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I suppose that's obvious from the five-star review, I don't tend to give out many of those, but this story and the way that it was told earned it. I was captivated from the moment that I first started reading to the last sentence.
This is a love story. A romantic love story, where two people grow to love one another as they learn more about each other, but also a love story about the place that it is set. I have never been to Hawaii, but it was portrayed so clearly, that I cou
Kirsti Call
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wow! This historical fiction was mesmerizing. And when I read the authors note and realized it's loosely based on her ancestor's love story, I loved the story even more. I love how the story is told from two points of view, Meile's in prose and John's diary entries. The story of how two cultures meet and learn to understand each other and love each other was moving and engaging. I also appreciated a clean romance. Ya
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Opening line:
"I fear we've overstayed our welcome."
First off: That cover! It's gorgeous!
Second: The writing! Gorgeous!
Third: Ms. Todd is a beautiful writer with a beautiful talent of the written word.

I LOVE that Ms. Todd was able to write this story about her fourth-great-grandparents, John and Papapaunauapu (or Maile for short). The story takes the reader on a historic journey with James Cook, John Harbottle and the royal Hawaiian family.
Maile is in love and soon to be married but ships on
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maile is the daughter of a powerful chief on a Hawaiian island in 1779. They have just had visitors to the island. Captain James Cooke and two of his ships have just left the area and Maile is so happy for the sailors to be gone. Maile sees the white sails again on the horizon and realizes that Captain Cooke and his men are back. This emotional story is about cultures, loss, and love. I found the story to be riveting, passionate and filled with engaging characters. A great addition to historical ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a unique historical proper romance and I absolutely loved it! It was an amazing and sweet story of two cultures colliding and the results. It is a story of forgiveness and new love. A story of family and finding where one belongs. If I didn’t already want to go to Hawaii, it would now be at the top of my list of places travel to. Thank you Ilima Todd for sharing the beautiful story of your ancestors with the world.

Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an eARC.
I freaking loved this book.
Lydia Howe
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019

Several years ago I went to Hawaii and found the history to be intriguing, yet despite that, I haven't found a lot of good historical fiction books set in Hawaii, so when I read the back cover blurb for A Song For the Stars I decided to go for it. 


There was so much history, culture, and lore woven into this book that made reading it a rich experience of learning about a people group that I don't have a lot of knowledge about. I didn't realize u
Maria Thomas
I wasn't at all sure I would like this book but decided to give it a shot. Glad I did. I was fascinated by the history in it. I loved learning about the native's beliefs and how very different and hard to understand it would be for the English. And how foreign the English ways would be to the Hawaiians. And it was interesting to learn how they navigated without tools outside of a true understanding of nature. And I loved that the book is inspired by a true story.

I had some strong emotions duri
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read books by this author before. But this one’s a different genre than she’s written before. And she’s done a really great job with it. There are so many things to love about it.

Let’s start with Maile. I couldn’t help but picture Maile a bit like Moana from the Disney film. She’s the daughter of a Hawaiian chief, way back in the 1700’s. I loved the way Maile had her fiance that she’d known all of her life, Ikaika. They were to be married soon and life seemed perfect. And then disaster stru
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
Becky Porter
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book so much but loved it even more when I got to the end and realized it is a fictionalized version of the story of the author’s ancestors, a British sailor and a Hawaiian chieftess.
Michelle Kenneth -
*Sigh* This was an amazing story. If you are in need of a vacation, but can't get away, I recommend reading this book. It sweeps you away to the Hawaiian islands. You can feel the warmth of the sun, the sand beneath your feet and hear the ocean brushing up against Hawaii's shores. Paradise...still untouched by European colonization.

If you loved Moana, you will enjoy this story. I visualized Maile as a grown up version of Moana. I felt like I appreciated the story so much more imagining Maile as
Tammy Theriault
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This has been one of my fastest reads. Couldn't get enough of the culture, relationships, and writing. The history. All of it tied into a wonderful, slow burn romance that when you read the last page, you're asking for more. Ilima is literally the best writer for this story and handled it so delicately and mesmerizingly. Her ancestors are cheering loud!
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