It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth–an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret–one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”, “For Darkness Shows the Stars” is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it. (from Goodreads)

My expectations were sky high for this book ~ a Jane Austen retelling by an author I love. It doesn’t get much better than that.

When I finally got my hands on the book, worry clouded my anticipation. I had heard great thing about For Darkness Shows the Stars, but still, I was expecting a lot.

Thankfully it delivered on every level. It’s one of my favourite books of 2012 and Diana Peterfruend remains one of my must buy authors.

Although I have read Persuasion, it was while ago and I only had a hazy recollection of how the story unfolds. Two particular scenes stood out in my mind, a fall from the rocks and THE LETTER. The letter needs those capitals, it is one of the most amazing in literature. I was wondering how they would fair in the retelling and, happily, Diana Peterfreund completely makes them her own.

I smiled, I teared up, I got butterflies (of both the anxious and tingly varieties) and I was completely captivated by Elliot’s world and Elliot herself. She, like Amy and Astrid before her, stole my heart. I was completely invested in her and quite frequently wanted to give certain other characters a sharp smack around the head when they hurt her. I felt her joy, her pain, her regret and her wistfulness and I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough – except I forced myself to turn them slowly because the writing is so gorgeous I didn’t want to miss out by flying through it.

To just return to THE LETTER.  Letters are made use of throughout the story, as Elliot’s and Kai’s childhood letters to each other are slowly revealed. This worked so well. I would never have been as invested in Elliot and Kai’s story without the background of what they once were to each other. It was also a great way to tell us about the world they live in (which is fantastic), without overwhelming the story.

This is a perfect retelling, that will delight Jane Austen fans, but also captivate those who don’t know the story. Highly recommended.

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