by Amy Brill - £7.99 Penguin Books Ltd (2013)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780718159924 | ISBN 10: 0718159926
Amy Brill's The Movement of Stars tells a story of illicit love and extraordinary ambition.
It is 1845, and Hannah Gardner Price dreams of a world infinitely larger than the small Quaker community where she has lived all 25 years of her life - for, as an amateur astronomer, she secretly hopes to discover a comet and win the King of Denmark's prize for doing so.
But she can only indulge her passion for astronomy as long as the men in her life - her father, brother and family friends - are prepared to support it, and so she treads a fine line between pursuing her dreams and submitting to the wishes and expectations of those around her. That line is crossed when Hannah meets Isaac Martin, a young black whaler from the Azores.
Isaac, like Hannah herself, has ambitions beyond his station. Drawn to him despite their differences, Hannah agrees to tutor him in the art of navigation. As their shared passion for the stars develops into something deeper, however, Hannah's standing in the community is called into question, and she has to choose: her dreams or her heart.
Loosely inspired by the work of Maria Mitchell, the first American woman to become a professional astronomer, The Movement of Stars is, at its heart, a glorious - and unusual - love story. With shades of Chocolat and Remarkable Creatures, it will appeal to fans of Tracy Chevalier, Joanne Harris and Rose Tremain.
(Price & availability last checked: June 2014)