Sunday, 21 April 2019

The Stars in the Night by Clare Rhoden + #Giveaway

The Stars in the Night by Clare Rhoden
Published in Australia by Odyssey Books on the 26th January 2019.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Barbed Wire and 5Books1Theme: The Great War, and one of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

Add The Stars In The Night to your Goodreads

“Harry Fletcher is a confident young man, sure that he will marry Nora, no matter what their families say. He will always protect Eddie, the boy his father saved from the gutters of Port Adelaide.
Only the War to End All Wars might get in the way of Harry’s plans…
From the beaches of Semaphore to the shores of Gallipoli, the mud of Flanders to the red dust of inland South Australia, this is a story of love, brotherhood, and resilience.”

The Great War was said at the time to be 'the war to end all wars' yet warfare has raged in one form or another, in one nation or another, across the globe ever since. The Great War still holds a unique place in history though and I felt that Rhoden does a wonderful job in this novel of bringing the Australian soldiers' experiences to life. She has obviously thoroughly researched her subject and I appreciated the authenticity reflected in The Stars In The Night. The novel begins whn Harry is an elderly man, just after his wife has died, and his granddaughter, Kate, wants him to talk about an old notebook she has found amongst her grandmother's possessions. For Kate the notebook is a historical artefact, but its contents are still very real and vivid to Harry. Rhoden then takes us back in time to witness Harry signing up to fight so we can understand why he chose to do so, and see how the war he experienced was so horrifically different to what the young soldiers expected.

I loved Rhoden's character creations. Everyone felt genuine and I could appreciate less well known ideas such as Irish mother Ellen's being so against her Australian son signing up to fight an English war. Even though this family lived thousands of miles away, European ideas were still important to them and the men were keen to fight for Britain in a war that otherwise would not have reached Australian shores. A lot of the war scenes are understandably difficult to read because Rhoden doesn't shy away from the grim realities of trench life. This harshness is countered though by the heart warming bonds formed between most of the soldiers. We also see how the war remained with them for decades after the conflict itself had ended. Australia was a very different place when they returned and lots of their traditional job roles were either no longer there or had been taken by women. Expectations altered drastically in the 1920s and trying to cope with this while also suffering from physical and mental war damage must have been such a struggle for many families including Harry's as we see here. The Stars In The Night is an emotional and beautifully written reminder of a war that should never be forgotten.

Meet the author

Clare Rhoden writes historical fiction, sci-fi and fantasy (check her titles at Odyssey Books). Clare lives in Melbourne Australia with her husband Bill, their super-intelligent poodle-cross Aeryn, a huge and charming parliament of visiting magpies, and a very demanding/addictive garden space.

Clare completed her PhD in Australian WWI literature at the University of Melbourne in 2011, and a Masters of Creative Writing in 2008, in which she investigated the history of her grandparents who emigrated for Europe to Port Adelaide in January 1914. The Stars in the Night is the result of her research.

Author links: 
Website ~ FacebookTwitter ~ Instagram

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a signed copy of The Stars in the Night, a metal poppy brooch made by a Melbourne craftswoman, and a cross-stitch poppy card.
(Open Internationally until the 29th April 2019)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel's Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel's Random Resources will delete the data. Rachel's Random Resources is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Books by Clare Rhoden / Historical fiction / Books from Australia


  1. Historical fiction with a war setting are always powerful stories, I think. Thank you for sharing this one with us.

  2. The cover is hauntingly beautiful.