A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

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Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 19 Apr 2022

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Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia—the only ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.

Just after midnight on April 15, 1912, the passenger steamship Carpathia receives a distress signal from the largest passenger liner ever built, RMS Titanic, which is on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York.

Captain Arthur Rostron is awakened to an enormous maritime emergency with little information to guide his actions in answering the call for help. Is the dire threat to the unsinkable Titanic accurate? His ship is more than four hours away; will Carpathia hold together if pushed to never-before-tested speeds? What if his ship also strikes an iceberg? How many of Titanic’s 2,200 passengers will the Carpathia be able to accommodate? And with the freezing temperatures, will there be any survivors by the time the Carpathia arrives?

Kate Connolly is excited to join her sister in America and proud to be traveling on the grand Titanic, which was built in her Irish homeland. As a passenger in third-class accommodations, she is among the last to receive instruction and help after Titanic hits an iceberg. Among the chaos of abandoning ship, the chances of her securing a spot in a lifeboat appear grim. With the help of several men, also from Ireland, Kate finally reaches the upper decks and feels lucky to board Lifeboat 13, although no one knows if or when a rescue ship will come. She fears the icy water and wonders if they’ll all freeze to death. After seeing their magnificent ship submerge into the abyss, and hearing the cries of hundreds of fellow passengers drowning, it is almost too much to bear and Kate fleetingly thinks succumbing to her ordeal is the easiest escape.

Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of Captain Rostron on the Carpathia and Kate Connolly on the Titanic, this historical novel is a compelling, heart-pounding account of two eyewitnesses to an epic disaster. Rostron’s heroic and compassionate leadership, his methodical preparations for rescue, and his grit and determination to act honorably and selflessly to save lives and care for the survivors, sets the course for this awe-inspiring story.
Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia—the only ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.

Just after midnight on April 15, 1912, the passenger...

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ISBN 9781629729923
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Average rating from 11 members

Featured Reviews

In the stories and legends surrounding the Titanic, the Carpathia, the ship that picked up the survivors from the disaster. In this novel, Connolly imagines the story as it unfolded aboard the Carpathia the night of April 15, 1912; the decision of Captain Arthur Rostron to push his ship to its structural and engineering limit to reach the survivors as quickly as possible and then alternates his story with that of Titanic lifeboat passenger #13, Kate Connolly, who is traveling to America from Ireland for a new life. Even though we already know the ending, readers will be reading with a white knuckle grip. And I have to wonder if author Rebecca is a descendant of Kate’s.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy for review! I am absolutely obsessed with the Titanic and I read every book I can find about it so I was so excited to see this book on the NetGalley website. Though A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice is a historical fiction book, it was obviously well-researched. Rebecca Connolly did an excellent job of tapping into the emotions of the survivors aboard Titanic as well as the captain of the Carpathia who had to come to the aid of the survivors without knowing what situation he was getting into. A lot of Titanic books I've read have had a romance at the center of them but this one focused more on friendships and the rescue efforts, as well as the trauma of the events. I think this is the Titanic book that has touched me most deeply. Connolly does a great job of exploring the heartwrenching decisions that passengers had to make, the grief of losing loved ones, and the horror of splitting families apart. I definitely had tears in my eyes while reading some of the lifeboat scenes. There were a few mentions of religion scattered throughout the book that made sense in the historical context which I didn't mind too much. However, there was one chapter that was a whole religious funeral that I ended up skimming which affected my enjoyment of the book a bit (but that's just personal preference).

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In A BRILLIANT NIGHT OF STARS AND ICE, REBECCA CONNOLLY gives us the story of the sinking of the Titanic, together with that of the Carpathia, whose captain, Arthur Rostron, bravely turned his ship around when the cry for help was intercepted by the young Marconi operator, Harold Cottam, late at night on the fourteenth of April 1912, when he was uundressing for bed. I like the way the godly captain did not hesitate to hasten to help the Titanic’s passengers, pushing the Carpathia to greater speed even as they had to move carefully around icebergs. I like the excerpts from Arthur Rostron’s book together with those from survivors of the ordeal. I also like the way the author gives us closure on some of the survivors who are the main characters in the novel by telling us what happens to them afterwards. Kate Connolly is a young Irish girl who is travelling third class on the Titanic with a group of new found friends when the unthinkable happens - the unsinkable ship is going down! She escapes on lifeboat thirteen. After the horrors she experiences she knows she will never be the same. She feels guilty to have survived when so many haven’t. This horrific ordeal reveals what the people involved are made of. In this early twentieth century world, rife with class distinction as shown in the haughty and entitled attitude of Sir and Lady Duff-Gordon, it is “Amazing how compassion could bridge the divide of classes when nothing else could.” I like to see how the passengers on board rhe Carpathia join the crew in making things as comfortable as possible for the shipwrecked survivors even giving up their cabins in some instances. It is a sensitively told and well researched story in which we really feel the characters’ anguish. It is an interesting and inspirationl read and one I highly recommend. I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing The opinions in this review are completely my own.

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As a child I was fascinated with the Titanic. Rebecca Connolly has reignited that passion with this gripping novel. Told in multiple points of view, you won't want to set it down. 5/5 stars!

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When I first began this novel, I expected yet another ‘Titanic’ story, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Vividly compelling from the first page, the author pulls us into life aboard Carpathia, en-route to Europe from America. Understandably the world continues to be fascinated by one of history’s worst maritime disasters, and most know rough details of what happened that night, but Connolly has brought us a very human story of courage and determination by Carpathia’s crew, especially its radio operator, without whom the message from Titanic would not have been heard. The fact that it was is nothing short of a miracle, and it was a night full of miracles woven into a tapestry of heartbreak. Encompassing the magnitude of the tragedy without ever resorting to overdramatisation, Connolly’s copious research goes far beyond the actual events and into the mind and heart of Carpathia’s Captain Rostron, who was, not just a natural-born sailor, but a true gentleman in every sense of the word, who did everything he could to protect his passengers from the worst of media attention. This is fact-based fiction which will appeal to readers who enjoy a well-known story with a different twist. A deeply moving account which I can highly recommend and won’t easily forget.

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Rebecca Connolly has done it again. This was stunning! The plot was well-paced and completely captivating from start to finish. The characters were well developed and intriguing. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice by Rebecca Connolly is a great historical fiction that highlights the Carpathia’s involvement with the aftermath of the downfall of the infamous Titanic. I really have always been drawn to anything associated with the Titanic. I also have researched quite a bit into the rescue and post-rescue aspects, so I have knowledge of the Carpathia and its involvement. Of course I was drawn to this historical fiction that alternates between the point of view between Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia and a fictional third-class passenger, Kate Connolly, on the Titanic. Being able to read this tragedy and the subsequent rescue effort. Seeing the events unfold from such diverse viewpoints and from literal opposite ends of the spectrum, was a wonderful compare and contrast of the sinking. The author does a fabulous job creating a narrative that is emotional, jarring, suspenseful, and fresh/new despite knowing what is to happen. The concept of addressing this infamous and devastating loss from these new angles and arranging it in such an addictive, haunting, and harrowing way makes for a wonderful read. I devoured it as fast as I possibly could. Wonderful. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately (as of 11/20/21 no BB listing has been created and link will be updated when it is available) and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 4/5/22.

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I really enjoyed this book. Rebecca Connolly is a talented author and this book displays her talent perfectly! The story of the Titanic has always piqued my interest so when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it! I love that it is based on a true story, but even more alluring is that it includes the story of the Carpathia. Most retellings of the Titanic focuses solely on the ship and its passengers, however, Connolly includes the Carpathia and its Captain Arthur Rostron in addition to a passenger on the Titanic, Kate Connolly. I really enjoyed getting to explore the different perspectives of each person. Captain Rostron is bewildered that the unsinkable ship is calling for help. After deciding to come the the rescue of the Titanic, he must push his ship to unthinkable and never tested speeds as they are four hours away from the location of the Titanic and pray they don't come in contact with icebergs along the way. Kate Connolly is a passenger on the Titanic. She is lucky to get a spot on a lifeboat, drifting in the darkness, listening to the screams of fellow passengers in the freezing cold water, and hoping for a rescue to come quickly. If you enjoy stories based around the Titanic, this is a MUST read!

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