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A Song for the Stars

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  837 ratings  ·  281 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, 297 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Shadow Mountain
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  837 ratings  ·  281 reviews

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Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
A DNF at page 156.

Given that this is quite a short book, this is quite a late DNF decision for me.

I persevered as long as I did because this book was part of a reading challenge in the BLK group & because the book featured Captain Cook, a historical figure I find interesting. (He is credited as the first European to discover New Zealand) & because the author is Hawaiian and the story is based on some of her own ancestors.

Unfortunately Captain Cook's appearance was very brief, the choice to write
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
Joanna Loves Reading
If you are looking for a historical romance with a strong cultural setting, this is a great option. This is a story featuring a romance between an English explorer and the daughter of a chief of an Hawaiian tribe. It was inspired by real historical figures, and the author is a descendant of the inspirational couple. There was at least one other character based on a real Captain.

Overall, this was simply lovely. It took me a while to read, but that was due to real life obstacles, not due to the s
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
$2.99 on Kindle 5/6/20

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 he
Julie Carpenter
I don't think I can write a review that would do justice for this book. It was so beautiful. I felt as if I was there with these characters experiencing their heartaches as well as feeling as if I was very first experiencing some of their discoveries. I really loved the way the author wrote the story from the two different characters' perspectives. John's point of view was written in journal form while Maile's was written as it was happening.

I loved the history that was woven throughout the sto
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
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
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
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm not really sure how to start off this review. But I'll make an attempt.

The author states that this story is based of her own family story and she also was born and raised in Hawai'i, so this is an #ownvoices novel. I'm not going to discredit that, I'm just going to present this review as someone who is also a kānaka maoli - a person of Native Hawaiian ancestry and blood - #ownvoices perspective of it.

The romance of this story between Maile and John Harbottle gives me a bit of concern as to t
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,
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, favorites
This is a very touching book that is based on facts. I found myself crying several times and I read the book in one sitting. I just couldn't put it down! I wanted to know how this would end! If you don't want to know some of the things that happen skip the next paragraph and see how it makes you feel!

John and Maile( daughter of chief of the island) meet under not so good circumstances! John killed Maile's fiance. When John gets hurt, Maile takes him to a secluded area of the island. She has such
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
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is Historical Fiction set in Hawaii in the late 1700's. I liked reading about the cultural part of this as well as the history. After Captain James Cook was killed in a battle, this story essentially starts. What I had a hard time with was the romance. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't see it. It made little sense to me. The MC, Maile, went from mourning the death of her soon-to-be husband and falls in love with the guy who killed him. I needed to see some epiphany where that would be plaus ...more
A.L. Sowards
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Books shelved as historical romances don’t often make it to my to-read list, but I read so many good reviews of this book that I thought I’d give it a try. (It helps that some of the reviews mentioned battles.) The love story was sweet and I really enjoyed the historical details about Hawaiian culture, especially their navigation techniques. The book is set shortly after James Cook lands in the Hawaiian Islands in his search for the Northwest Passage, giving Hawaiians their first brush with fore ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was such an unexpected treasure. I admit I didn’t put it at the top of my reading list at first, but now I wish I’d read it sooner. It’s Disney’s Moana meets Pocahontas in this gripping tale of two worlds colliding on the shores of Hawaii.

Maile is a strong and determined protagonist. She is an exceptional navigator, smart leader, fierce protector, and has a good heart. I loved watching her change and grow in her interactions with John Harbottle. His journal entries gave a special insi
Oct 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Fun, historical fiction with a love story also based on a true story. Not much more to say other than I’d like to go to Hawaii now.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. The way it is told, is very enjoyable. I loved the two perspectives of Maile and John. John's was told in journal form, the pages in the book even reflected that. A very nice touch. Maile is wonderful. Such a strong, ambitious leader in so many ways. The story is lovely and the setting itself is a character. I loved the author's descriptions of the ways of the Hawaiians, their cultures and beliefs. I didn't want the book to end. ...more
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
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who enjoyed the Disney movie Moana needs to read this book. I was so interested in the setting of ancient Hawaii and the traditions of the people who live there. It was especially fun to read about the author's ancestors and how they fell in love. I thought that Todd did an excellent job of weaving historical bits into the love story.

The character of Maile is fierce and has something to teach all of us as we read about lessons she learns while training a white man to navigate as the Hawa
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
This was a beautifully told story, one that nicely blends historical fact and fiction, giving a fascinating peek into early Hawaiian life and culture. Excellent character development. Occasionally some of the dialogue felt a little too modern but really nothing that took away from this being a very enjoyable read. Love the cover!
I loved this book. I read Todd's Remake books and enjoyed them, but this one was so much better than them. I loved the imagery that flows through her writing. I was there. I loved learning about Hawai'ian traditions and culture. It was beautiful. ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Jess (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
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 Joh
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Song for the Stars was such a wonderful mix of romance and historical fiction genres. They have always been some of my favorite genres to read. This "Proper Romance" is very different from the others in this series and it was as refreshing as a dip in the ocean waters. I'm blessed to have visited the Big Island of Hawaii. I was immediately transported back there through the beautiful words written by this author.

The novel is especially unique as it is based on a true story of Ilima Todd's Fou
 The Flipped Page (Susan K)
Romance, clean; period;
4.5 for me as a reader. This was a gorgeous, lush read, and so interesting as it was based on a family story. It is rich with the culture and history of the Hawaiian Islands, and so interesting! I loved learning more about that time period and traditional Hawaiian culture and traditions. The story is told from alternating points of view with Maile being the main point of view, and John's told though his journal entries.
Loved seeing Maile and John's friendship, and their

I thought this story was interesting mainly due to the setting and history. Hawaii's history is fascinating, and I really like the historical and cultural details in the story.

The author's note (and family connection to the story) was also very interesting and I'm glad that she included the historical bones of the fictionalized story.

However, as a romance and as a novel it left something to be desired. All of the characters felt two-dimensional (Maile's grief in particular) and the plot w
Toni Shiloh
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book. The diversity. The setting. The characters and connection to the author's history. ...more
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. ...more
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