4 stars

Historical Romance Review: Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne

Across a Starlit Sea, Rebecca Brandewyne, Warner Books, 1989, cover artist Melissa Duillo-Gallo

For the heart is not a candle that, once lit, can be extinguished at will, but a fragile, foolish thing, all too easily wounded, all too slow to heal.


4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Across a Starlit Sea was a tempestuous romance written by Rebecca Brandewyne. This was a sequel to one of my all-time beloved love stories, Upon a Moon-Dark Moor, and this was one of the rare Brandewyne novels with Warner Books that was not illustrated by Elaine Duillo. Instead, her daughter Melissa Duillo-Gallo painted the cover.

The Plot

The Cornish coast setting made for a dark, gothic feel to this historical romance. I enjoyed the first-person narrative in both books as the heroines told their life stories from youth to their first love to true love to married life with children and into old age. Expect to see here Brandewyne’s standard purple-prose writing and in-depth descriptions of history.

Laura was betrothed at birth to Jarrett, the eldest son of Maggie & Draco, the protagonist couple from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor, although she’s been in love with his younger brother, Nicholas, all her life. The brothers battle for Laura’s love, but it’s soon evident that Jarrett is the hero who is worthy of her affection.

The way Jarrett won Laura over was so beautifully portrayed; he was an enigmatic, reserved man, but so full of confidence, charisma, and compassion, so how could she possibly resist?

The children of the secondary characters from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor are quite relevant in this book, including Lizzie and Thorne, cousins to Laura, Jarret, and Nicky, and are enemies with them. Thorne actually had the hots for Nicholas and hated Laura because Nicholas wanted her so much!

Nicholas was quite a scoundrel because he had an affair with Thorne’s wife and various other women, which would wreak consequences for the entire Chandler family. There were so many tragedies in this story (and its prequel). However, the sacrifices Laura makes to preserve her family are noble, and the ending, while a happy one, is bittersweet.

Final Analysis of Across a Starlit Sea

Brandewyne had intended to write a third book about Laura’s son, Rhodes, but she never did. I’ve been waiting over 30 years for it, and I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. 🙁

Across a Starlit Sea is a wonderful book, at times quite the tearjerker. Even more heart-wrenching is its prequel, Upon A Moon-Dark Moor, which was one of my favorite Brandewyne novels.

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