4.5 star rating.
Map of Stars is a WW2 romance set in and around Canterbury, Kent. It opens with a long prologue from 1967 and introduces us to Eliza. She lives in Forstall Manor. Her daughter Stella has returned home and when soot falls from a recently swept chimney it reveals a mummified messenger pigeon. The contents of the sealed container reveal missing answers from Eliza’s past.
Chapter one then takes us back to the beginning of the story, 1939. Eliza and her brother Martyn and Mother Mathilde visit Forstall Manor. It is home to Sybil, Morris and their son Nick. Ever indebted to Mathilde’s husband for saving Morris in WW1, the family have taken Mathilde and her children under their wing. The peace and beauty of the day is darkened by the news of the outbreak of war. Rashly Nick asks Eliza to marry him, and so wedding plans dampen the dread of war.
In the winter months a car accident has Eliza and Nick seriously injured on a loanly country road. An unknown passing stranger rescues them. It is months before they are recovered and Nick is left with a bad limp. Eliza’s younger brother Martyn is desperate to join the RAF, and Eliza and her family move permanently to Forstall to wait out the war.
Part of Forstall is taken over by the war office with a secret decoding centre, as Eliza reads French, she helps them with the messages. She also helps on the home front particularly during the Evacuation of Dunkirk, feeding, caring and processing the injured as they arrive back on shore. It is here, on a rare break that she is reacquainted with the unknown stranger from the car crash. Their friendship is instant and it is obvious they both have strong feeling for each other. But Lewis Harper owns a life boat and he must return to the beaches of Dunkirk, and Eliza is about to be married.
Eliza next meets Lewis when he is installed as Commander in the decoding office at F4orstall they try to keep their feelings in check, but when Eliza gets shocking bad news, it is Lewis she turns to for comfort. The extremes which war brought out, tested the residents of Forstall, but they always returned for comfort and closure.
An interesting setting the Kent coastline being insight of the France. The significance of the title is revealed in the storyline and I learnt new details of English resistance plans in case of invasion. This book should appeal to fans of WW2 historical romance.
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