Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review -- Starlight

The Christies—Book 2
By Carrie Lofty
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: June 26, 2012

Alexander Christie is a bit disheartened following the reading of his late father’s will. Alex and his three siblings are instructed to manage one of William Christie’s foreign companies to help it to earn a profit at the end of two years. If they succeed, they are awarded one million dollars; if they refuse or fail, they will receive five hundred dollars. The task given to Alex is to go to Glasgow, Scotland, and make Christie’s Textiles profitable. Alex has a hard time wrapping his head around this idea since his life, and that of his infant son’s, is in Philadelphia, where he is a teacher and is due tenure within the year. However, there is no question that he will do it after meeting with his late wife’s malicious father.  

“Did he bequeath you enough to keep your son?” 

It is this question and the evil desire behind it that drives Alex to do anything and everything to protect Edmund. 

He would go to Scotland. He would earn that million-dollar bonus and protect his son. Or die trying. 

Polly Gowan is a weaver at Christie’s Textiles and also the daughter of a union leader. Few people know that Polly has been secretly leading the union ever since her father became too ill to do the job. After an explosion in the mill leaves some damage and one person with an injury, Polly and several other workers are brought in for questioning by the new master, Mr. Christie, and a few of the other mill masters. Polly is instantly intrigued by Alex, but knows her place since they are on opposite sides of the social spectrum—Polly and her family are dirt poor (but happy) and Alex is of the upper crust. Yet despite all the secrets and turmoil, they find that they can be themselves with each other and just let forget their past hardships for at least a little while and heal. This is one of my favorite (of many) scenes in the book: 

“How do you do it, Polly?” 

... “Do what?” 

“Keep your spirits up. For example, at the meeting hall. Had anyone else given the speech you did, I would’ve thought them terribly naïve or even manipulative. But you meant every word, and everyone there knew it. You want the people in your union to fare well.” 

“Naturally. Others might have different motives, but I’m not so complicated.” 

“Oh, I don’t believe that.” He touched her cheek, where loose curls tickled and teased. Her skin was cold. He edged closer on the blanket, and their bodies traded heat. 

“I love my people,” she said at last. “I’m very proud of them. This isn’t an easy life. Maybe that’s why I have such pride and ambition for them, often more than they do for themselves.” 

“But how have you managed to survive here? It’s dirty and poor and violent. Yet, you keep smiling. How?” 

She grew quiet, making Alex wonder if he’d stepped on some invisible boundary. But she was still Polly, and that meant taking him by surprise. “You want to know the secret?” 

“Is there one?” 

“Of course. Otherwise I’d have gone mad a long time ago.” ... “You make shields. A half dozen or so. You stake them all around, all overlapped to keep out the pain and disappointment. But you leave a tiny crack, right in the front. That’s for letting the happiness in.” 

Polly agrees to help Alex find out who orchestrated the explosion, but she is a smart, practical girl who holds no illusions that she and Alex will have a future together beyond that. But the more time they spend in each other’s company, the harder it is for Polly to cling to that thought. And Alex is not immune either. 

She was a creature he’d never thought to imagine. A woman unlike any he’d ever known. Rough-hewn and cheeky, resilient and stubborn. Her boldness called to him. 

That boldness tempted him toward thoughts he had no business thinking. Hard thoughts. Charged with sex and expectation. His nighttime fantasies made real. Primal and powerful, his hands shook with his effort to maintain some reserve. 

He wanted her, yes. But nothing about her could be trusted. Those kisses... All in service of the union? 

When more chaos arises, the results of which may change their lives forever, Alex and Polly must decide what is most important.  

Starlight is an absolute treasure from the multi-talented Carrie Lofty! In it, she crafts a beautiful tale of two people who aren’t of the same class, but are of a similar mind. Alex and Polly’s attraction to one another is clear and completely real. Their very first meeting in Alex’s office is fraught with tension, but there is an underlining allure there as well. That attraction evolves into some extremely sexy hot love scenes! As mentioned, Alex and Polly are in opposing positions—one having to side with the other masters to keep peace, while the other stands up for her people and their livelihood. I found myself rooting for both to prevail in their individual cause. 

I love this series about the illustrious Christie family and am blown away by Lofty’s talent to breathe life into unusual settings. The first book (Flawless) was set in South Africa and while this one is located in a familiar country, I haven’t read any Scottish romances that take place within the austere milling industry. I was completely fascinated. And while reading it, I was reminded of one of my favorite mini-series, North and South, featuring the handsome Richard Armitage. After reading the sneak peek of the next book, Diva, I am anxious for it and its Australia setting! Ms. Lofty continues to shine in historical romance and I have no doubt she will for many years to come!



  1. Great review Andrea!
    I read Carrie's Flawless last year and really enjoyed it. Definitely looking forward to Alex and Polly's story!! Like you, I really like that Carrie has decided to use unique non-typical locations to set this series in.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I really loved this story. As mentioned, I was totally fascinated! :)

  2. I love the Christie series too, Andrea. Thanks for the great review. "A Little More Scandal" is on my Kindle now, and I'll definitely be reading Starlight.

    I've been a Carrie Lofty fan since I read Song of Seduction, which left me raving about the story and the prose. Just great writing! I'm also really looking forward to Lofty's WW II story that's being released in early September.

    1. Thanks, Janga! I need to read A Little More Scandal. Let me know how you like it. And I couldn't agree more--her writing IS great!

  3. Thanks for the review - it does sound like something I would enjoy!

  4. Lovely review, Andrea! Sorry I could not resopnd sooner, but we had computer issues last week. All fixed now and way better than ever! I must have this series!