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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Beneath Strange Stars is the second book in Rebecca Bryn’s trilogy For Their Country’s Good. It continues the saga of the star-crossed lovers, Ella and Jem, with just enough backstory to be read as a standalone novel without boring readers who have already enjoyed On Different Shores. Ella has been forced to settle for being the wife of Harry Cartwright, and she is expecting a baby: a baby who could be born blind due to gonorrhea, but did Harry infect Ella or she him? Meanwhile, Jem is aboard the convict ship Tortoise en route for Van Diemen’s Land, and the mutiny only planned in book one is going ahead; men with nothing to lose want to sail back to England, their homes, and their families. Once her child is born, will Ella give up her dream of following Jem? Will the mutiny succeed?
Beneath Strange Stars is a story set in Victorian times that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the end, there is so much action, evil doings, heartache, and tragedy. Is Harry a villain or just the man his parents made him? Is Ella an unprincipled whore and a thief, or a woman in love, and a mother torn between two children? One child, William, is Jem’s; the other, Matthew, is a Cartwright and the apple of Harry’s eye and heir to the family farm. Rebecca Bryn spins a tangled yarn of two blue jay feathers given with love and used in hate.