I do so love a great historical fiction tale. This book covered a period of history that I know little about and has led me to go looking for more. While the story starts with the main character as a young, naïve and sheltered girl, circumstance soon leads to her maturing and using her intellect to survive not only in a man’s world but in an atmosphere of constant espionage.
This plot weaved in with the environment of Lisbon after the horrific earthquake of 1755, gives you everything you need for the perfect escapist read. I know it’s a little late for a beach read, but this is that one that needs to go in the bag!
During a time period when women spies were not yet part of the picture, Cecilia finds a way to create a style and system to allow her to live, and although she is not always successful, she does attempt to protect those in her inner circle. She quickly realizes that having men either dismiss her or have no expectation of her is an advantage that she capitalizes upon.
This was my ideal weekend escape read!
When one of the largest earthquakes in history hits Lisbon on All Saints’ Day 1755, Cecília de Santa Rita e Durante’s life is turned upside down. With her family possibly dead, she must wade through the ruins that were once her home with the help of John Bates. The English Protestant represents everything she was taught to hate, but he is her only hope of making it through the newly destroyed Lisbon.
Faced with both unspeakable tragedy and an unexpected miracle at home, Cecília leans on John for support. When he leaves, she is forced to reconcile her feelings for him with her long-held beliefs. Left carrying a torch for a man she never should have met, she’s cast into a web of deception, religious upheaval, and political intrigue that leaves her on even shakier ground.
The Stars of Heaven explores a clash of cultures between the European Age of Enlightenment and the Portuguese Inquisition as Cecília navigates the uncharted waters of her new life.