Saturday 11 June 2022

Book Review: The Brightest Star by Emma Harcourt (Historical Fiction)

Title: The Brightest Star
Author: Emma Harcourt
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Publication Date: 6 July 2022
Pages: 398
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

1496 It is the height of the Renaissance and its flowering of intellectual and artistic endeavour, but the city state of Florence is in the grip of fundamentalist preacher Friar Girolamo Savonarola. Its good people believe the Lord speaks through him, just as certainly as the Sun circles the Earth.

For Leonarda Lunetta, eldest daughter of the learned Signore Vincenzio Fusili, religion is not as interesting as the books she shares with her beloved father. Reading is an escape from the ridicule flung her way, for Luna is not like other girls. She was born with a misshapen leg and that, and her passion for intellectual pursuits - particularly astronomy - alters how society sees her and how she sees the world.

Luna wants to know, to learn, to become an astronomer who charts the nights sky - certainly not the dutiful, marriageable daughter all of Florence society insists upon. So when Luna meets astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, she is not surprised that his heretical beliefs confirm her view that world is not as it is presented - or how it could be. These dangerous ideas bring her into conflict with the preacher Savonarola, and her future is changed irrevocably as politics, extremism and belief systems ignite in a dangerous conflagration.

Luna is a woman born out of time, the brightest star of her generation, but can she reconcile the girl of her father's making with this new version of herself? And if she does, will Renaissance Italy prove too perilous and dark a place for a free-thinking woman?


The Brightest Star by Emma Harcourt was a pleasing piece of historical fiction. It opened strongly, introducing Luna as a well-drawn and appealing heroine whose story I was interested to follow throughout. The story held my attention well and there was a good sense of place and period; however, I felt a little let down by the ending, not because it wasn't wrapped up well in one way, but rather because I had expected 'more' for her based on the build up and all that had come before. That small gripe aside, though, this was an enjoyable tale and is sure to please historical fiction fans who like to see a strong female lead in the stories they read.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

No comments:

Post a Comment