A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice by Rebecca Connolly
In A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice, Captain Arthur Rostron is decisive and never hesitates to do the right thing.
Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Titanic and Carpathia, Rescue, Atlantic Ocean
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My Summary of A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice:
Some people run toward danger. On April 15, 1912, Arthur Rostron, captain of the Carpathia, hears a distress call from the Titanic. The captain answers the call at great risk to his ship and his passengers’ discomfort and doesn’t hesitate to order a change of course and prepare for a rescue. This is not without risk because he will be heading into the same icy waters that damaged the Titanic. Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on the Titanic and among the last to secure a spot on a lifeboat. She watches in horror as the Titanic sinks and hears the cries of people in the water. Kate and other rescued passengers board the Carpathia. A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice is told from both their perspectives in alternating chapters.
My Thoughts About A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice:
He Never Hesitates
The story of the sinking of the Titanic is a familiar story, and most of us have probably seen the movie. However, I have never read a story about the ship that rescued the survivors until now. Told from two perspectives (a passenger on the Titanic and the captain of the Carpathia), the rescue was the most compelling and fascinating part of the story for me. It took a great deal of courage for Captain Rostron to attempt a rescue in the same dark, frigid, icy waters that damaged the Titanic. I appreciate hearing about the risk it involved and about his loyal and competent crew. Unsung heroes.
It’s not a coincidence that the author’s surname matches that of a rescued passenger, Kate Connolly. The author, Rebecca Connolly, deliberately chose a name from the survivor’s list that matched her own.
A Moral and Ethical Dilemma
I love that the author explores the captain’s inner turmoil as he weighs his moral and ethical choices and leans heavily on his faith. For me, this is the most compelling part of the story. I understand why we needed a passenger’s perspective, but I was always eager to return to the Carpathia’s perspective as the passengers sacrifice heat (turned off to give more coal to the engines), share their own clothing, give up their leisure space, etc. Captain Rostron manages to balance the logistics of the rescue as well as his own passengers’ physical and emotional concerns. I love that his crew members are loyal and perform as a team, It’s truly an example of leadership and doing the “right thing.”
My only wish is that the author hadn’t dropped the storyline of the boy that Julia took with her in the rescue boat. She promises his dad that she will look after him and after they boarded the Carpathia, this thread is dropped. I think that is a missed opportunity for a poignant storyline, and it distracted me a bit because I kept wondering about him.
Recommending A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice
I’m enthusiastically recommending this compelling account of the Titanic tragedy from the rescue perspective. Fans of stories about inspirational people and unsung heroes will find the story riveting. Book clubs might enjoy this unique perspective of a familiar event and rich discussion possibilities.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5)
Meet the Author of A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice, Rebecca Connolly
Is this amazing rescue story on your TBR or have you read it?
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