An #INSPY Book Spotlight with Notes + Extract | featuring “Set the Stars Alight” by Amanda Dykes

Posted Monday, 5 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I positively LOVE reading INSPY Lit and when I find an author has combined two of my favourite styles of story “Contemporary and Historical” in a lovely time shift, I dearly sit up and take notice! This particular novel I discovered a bit ahead of the blog tour being announced which is why I jumped at the chance to be on the tour itself – as I was sorting out which new books were being released by this publisher as I wanted (at the time) to see if I could get ahead of the pub dates and potentially seek out the stories via my local libraries (either in print or audiobook). I had good intentions but as the course of the year went the way it had for all of us, I admit, I lost track of which stories were releasing and when they might reach my libraries.

Ahead of my tour stop today, I happily found out the audiobook is available through my regional library via their audiobook catalogue on CloudLibrary!! Eek. I was overly excited finding this out as I am listening to more audiobooks lately as with all the migraines I’ve been plagued with from May-August and with September being a wickedly horrid month all the way round (from my parents health emergencies to my excessive migraines) you could say reading all the way round for me has been a bit more adverse than usual! Audiobooks and larger print books are easier for me to enjoy whilst I’m re-transitioning back into reading after a long nightmeric run of migraines and having this lovely so easily available was a bit of random joy for me recently!

I wasn’t able to get too far into the story but as I have it checked out, I’m hopeful I can finish it this October as you’ll soon find out why I enjoyed the hour I listened too! I love finding new authors and it is a delight of mine to be featuring some INSPY authors via this blog tour company as INSPY has long since been a cosy comforting branch of literature for me. I’ve been a hybrid reader (ie. mainstream and INSPY) since I was quite young and I oft turn to INSPY whenever I want to tuck offline into a story I know  will find a positive lift of joy to be reading! Most recently, I related my immense joy in listening to ‘Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish’ whilst ‘Magnolia Storms’ was one of my top favourites during a recent INSPY readathon this past August. You will find a healthy gathering of INSPY stories in my Story Vault as well!

Today, I am wicked thankful I can bring you a short extract from “Set the Stars Alight” as I love helping my fellow readers and book bloggers find stories they might love as much as I do! I look forward to conversing with you about this story in the comments! Especially if you think this might be a wicked good fit for you as a reader, too! I’d be keen to know what attracts you into time shift narratives (or time slip!) as much as why you love dual perspective novels which combine both modern settings with the historical.

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An #INSPY Book Spotlight with Notes + Extract | featuring “Set the Stars Alight” by Amanda DykesSet the Stars Alight
by Amanda Dykes
Source: Borrowed from local library's CloudLibrary

Lucy Clairmont's family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it's Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she's discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers--and the healing--they so desperately seek.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Time Slip and/or Time Shift


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764232671

ASIN: B0857HL9MJ

Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 30th June, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 12 hours and 36 minutes (unabridged)

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Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #TimeShift, #HistFic, #INSPY or #ChristianFiction
as well as #SetTheStarsAlight & #BHPFiction

About Amanda Dykes

Amanda Dykes (Photo Credit: © Michael Pettrey)

Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. She's a former English teacher and the author of Set the Stars Alight and Whose Waves These Are, an INSPY award winner and a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, as well as three novellas.

Photo Credit: © Michael Pettrey

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Enjoy reading this Extract
of “Set the Stars Alight” from the Prologue:

London, England

May 1987

The smell of cinders permanently etched the abandoned Bessette Match Factory into the minds of all who passed. If asked about the factory, people rarely remembered the details of the brick towers, iron gates, and black-painted sign with carved letters, their gilded edges now gone . . . but they inevitably recalled the general specter of smoke and soot—a vestige of industrial revolutions and factory strikes and all manner of Victorian lore.

The towering roofline dwarfed the homes and shops that, over time, had popped up near the vacant building in old London Town. Yet not so long ago, for over a century, the Bessette Match Factory, Purveyors of Pure Light, had produced the metal hum of industry, issuing a steady stream of wooden sticks from its depths. Those sticks were then sent to the glasshouse. Not a house of glass, but a brick outbuilding whose walls housed the glass-grinding quarters. There the sticks were treated, their tips dipped in powdered glass, glass born of fire—and to fire they were destined to return.

Once they were cloaked in chemicals, the strike-anywhere matches were bundled and sent off to Market Street and Covent Garden and on to the lake district and the dales and the seaports circling the green island nation, until parlour fires and hearth fires and cooking fires and fires of camps all owed their warmth to that match factory.

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Borrowed Book by: The audiobook for “Set the Stars Alight” was available through my regional library’s CloudLibrary wherein I was able to borrow the audiobook for a fortnight. I was not obliged to post my thoughts on behalf of this audiboook and am doing so for my own edification as much as I love sharing my readerly life with the readers of my blog. I was thereby not compensated for my thoughts and reactions to this story contained herein.

[about listening to an hour from the audiobook via my library’s CloudLibrary]

Narrated by: Shiromi Arserio | Site | @GirlinBlueBox

[about the story]

It begins with a rather sad and sombering back-history about the match factory and how Britain used to be quite co-dependent on the matches in order to have ‘light’ in their lives. With technological and industrial progresses the match industry lost its footing in the industry it was housed and then quite unceremoniously was taken out of commission altogether. It is here where we enter into the family whose ownership of the factory has found it as a property of neglect and yet it had such a firm impact on so many lives just centuries beforehand.

It was interesting to hear about urban renewal and how a tired old match factory could become transformed into a housing development. Candlewick Commons gave new life to Simon Claremont (watchmaker) who was able to settle into the new building with his wife and this soon to be bourne daughter, Lucy. It was lovely how the old building start to spark new birth and new possibilities for people who were from older industries no longer viable in this growing world.

As Lucy grew she became a self-directed learner who pursued literature and the stories which might one day give her the better impression of what her life’s worth could become. She wasn’t as sure as what she was meant to do with herself and through reading she hoped to discover the purpose for her life and yet, as she read, she wasn’t as captivated by Shakespeare as others might have been. Yet, it was through reading the Bard’s collective works it allowed her to carry-on a conversation with a boy she hadn’t expected to meet (Dashiel, Dash for short). A kind reminder her father’s advice was now coming to fruition as like most parents, her father wanted to encourage her to realise that she won’t always be alone and that sometimes friends enter our lives when we least expect them too.

Dash and Lucy became such close friends as they each had curiosities about the world and liked tinkering with her father as he was enabling them to build things far beyond friendship. One of the beauties of this story is how Lucy’s father is a natural storyteller – he enriches their young lives with stories which are both thought-provoking as they evocative of lands and experiences far outside their own world. He gives them reasons to think harder about what they understand about life and what is plausible when Science can be applied and when things can be taken on faith alone. In essence, he was guiding them towards a life of thoughtful repose and of undertaking far more than mere childhood adventures as he wanted them to develop a way to think about why things work the ways in which they do and what that says about ourselves, about life and what can be innovatively invented.

And, yet percolating in the undertone of the where we were caught inside this beautiful found family, of where Lucy’s parents and herself welcomed Dash into their folds – their love and their affection for Dash could not reach far enough inside him as he felt an emptiness he could not explain about how he viewed his family against hers and how he felt like an interloper who was not truly a part of Lucy’s family or world. His separation from them started as a young teenager who was growing more into himself and less attached to the family who had come to think of him as a son and brother. Your heart immediately aches for Lucy and her parents – because of how much they cared for young Dash and how sad it was to realise those feelings were not returnt.

For Lucy you could tell it had a more tragic moment of growing up and recognising where your feelings lie and what you’re to do with unrequited love. Lucy had to work hard at learning whereas with Dash it came natural and easy. She wasn’t given too much encouragement in school but with Dash, everything was expected of him and in some ways, you wondered if that put too much pressure on him. And, then right before you can before it possible the story takes a very sombering turn wherein Lucy suffers a loss which puts her into a funk she cannot see her way out and it was the one moment which brought Dash back to her all the same.

I immediately felt connected to this family as family is at the centre of how Set the Stars Alight begins and I can see myself being curiously happy to continue listening to this lovely throughout the rest of the fortnight I have it borrowed. This is such an emotionally evocative story – I cannot wait to see how this story will continue to bewitch my ears and take me on a journey I shall not soon forget.

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[about the narrator]

I loved how she pulls you into the story especially in how she voiced the initial characters in the Introduction. As you felt the gravity of the back-history of this story and how one industry melted away and gave the chance for a building complex to be constructed in its wake. She gives this spoken narrative a dash of the theatrical as with each character her voice transforms a bit to shine a lovely light on their personalities – where Lucy is less confident in herself, Dash has a stronger personality than Lucy and when it comes to Lucy’s father, his voice is both kind and gently rhythmical  as he is the storyteller in the family.

Her articulation is brilliant and I love how her voice is an equal match against the author’s words – of how she takes you on this wondrous adventure Dykes has written and becomes our guide into this new world where Science plays a strong role in the development of both the story and the adventures the characters are having themselves. I love Science narratives (both in Fiction and Non-Fiction) and to find such a compassionately told story of INSPY which brings Science into the front of where we see the characters heading forward is such a delight of joy.

The only thing I will say which was hard to understand (at first) is what tragically happens to Lucy’s Mum as I had to re-listen to that passage a few times before I fully understand what had happened. I am not sure if it was because of how Dykes had written that sequence or if because I was listening to the story and not reading it in print I missed a few steps which connected the tragedy more readily for readers than it had for me as a listener of the audiobook. It proved to be another turning point in the storyline – the first of course was when Dash started to turn away from Lucy and the second is when Lucy suffered a loss she was not prepared to endure. Throughout which you are emotionally connected through these passages by how Arserio approached narrating the story.

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I’m wicked happy to be a host for:

Love Books Tours Host badge provided by Love Books Tours and is used with permission.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This blog Tour is courtesy of:

Set the Stars Alight blog tour banner provided by Love Books Tours and is used with permission.Be sure to click the banner to follow the rest of the blog tour!

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 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Be sure to leave notes, takeaways and commentary to let me know if this has been a story on your bookish radar and/or if it is one you’re going to be adding to your own TBR! I’d love to hear your thoughts about this kind of story and others you might have already read on similar themes.

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NOTE: Similar to blog tours wherein I feature book reviews, book spotlights (with or without extracts), book announcements (or Cover Reveals) – I may elect to feature an author, editor, narrator, publisher or other creative person connected to the book, audiobook, Indie film project or otherwise creative publishing medium being featured wherein the supplemental content on my blog is never compensated monetarily nor am I ever obligated to feature this kind of content. I provide (98.5%) of all questions and guest topics regularly featured on Jorie Loves A Story. I receive direct responses back to those enquiries by publicists, literary agents, authors, blog tour companies, etc of whom I am working with to bring these supplemental features and showcases to my blog. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them: I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers. Whenever there is a conflict of connection I do disclose those connections per post and disclose the connection as it applies.

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Set the Stars Alight”, synopsis, author photograph (Amanda Dykes) as well as the extract and the tour badge were all provided by Love Books Tours and are used with permission. Author biography provided by were provided by the publisher Bethany House (courtesy of Baker Publishing Group) and are used with permission of the publisher. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Stories in the Spotlight banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

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Posted Monday, 5 October, 2020 by jorielov in Astronomy, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Love Books Tours, Space Science




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