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Review: The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling

Lost History of StarsIn turn-of-the-century South Africa, fourteen-year-old Lettie, her younger brother, and her mother are Dutch Afrikaner settlers who have been taken from their farm by British soldiers and are being held in a concentration camp. It is early in the Boer War, and Lettie’s father, grandfather, and brother are off fighting the British as thousands of Afrikaner women and children are detained. The camps are cramped and disease ridden; the threat of illness and starvation are ever present. Determined to dictate their own fate, Lettie and her family give each other strength and hope as they fight to survive amid increasingly dire conditions.

Brave and defiant, Lettie finds comfort in memories of stargazing with her grandfather, in her plan to be a writer, and in surprising new friendships that will both nourish and challenge her. A beautiful testament to love, family, and sheer force of will, The Lost History of Stars was inspired by Dave Boling’s grandfather’s own experience as a soldier during the Boer War. Lettie is a figure of abiding grace, and her story is richly drawn and impossible to forget.

Review

The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling begins on the day that fourteen year Lettie lost her home. British soldiers come in and torch their houses and then send the family to a concentration camp where they all live in a tent shared with another family. The story is mostly set in the camp. We get to see the kind of life that the Afrikaners live there. There are a few chapters that contain flashbacks of life before the camp.

Lottie is the main character and narrator for this story. She is young, barely a teen but forced to adjust to a different life. I really liked her character. First of all, she is a bookworm. Even in the camp, Lottie still found a way to get lost in books. She was quite strong despite her circumstances. I sympathized with her due to what she was going through. Lottie was at a sensitive age, learning about boys, womanhood but experiencing these things in the midst of the chaos that was the camp life. The story was heartbreaking. Needless to say, life at the camp was hard. The living conditions were terrible. So many people died especially the kids.

Through Lettie, we get to meet different characters. I really liked her friend Janetta. The two girls were prisoners but they had such a wonderful friendship. I liked how they used to spend hours talking about boys. It was nice seeing Lettie getting to experience such a friendship but still heartbreaking. Another character who stood out was a British soldier called Tommy Maples, a young soldier who didn’t want to be there in the first place. Tommy was an interesting character and the only soldier who seemed to show compassion to the prisoners. However, Tommy presented the other side of the story. He portrayed soldiers also affected by the war. His kindness and compassion helped in showing a different side of the war.

Although this is fiction, the book is inspired by true events. It is set in South Africa during the Boer War. This war left a lot of women and children dead from disease in concentration camps. The fact that the book is inspired by true historical events makes it even more heartbreaking. It covers an important part of history that I didn’t know about. It is definitely a book that I recommend to all fans of this genre.

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16 comments on “Review: The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling

  1. cleopatralovesbooks
    September 8, 2017

    The Boer War doesn’t offer feature in historical fiction and this sounds like a character led tale which always works best for me. Great review Diana

    • Diana
      September 8, 2017

      I agree with you, this is the first book that I have read about the war. I think that you will like is Cleo.Its character-driven and also based on facts about the war.

      Thank you 🙂

  2. I know you were excited about this one and I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure that people who read this genre will pick this one up. Great review Diana!

    • Diana
      September 8, 2017

      I think they will. Thank you Nikola, I loved it 🙂

  3. Ali (@thebandarblog)
    September 8, 2017

    Ooooh this sounds good but heart-breaking. I love historical fiction, and especially of events/times that I don’t know much about (like this one!). I may be adding this one to the TBR! Great review.

    • Diana
      September 8, 2017

      Glad to hear that. Thank you 🙂

  4. booksarge
    September 8, 2017

    I love historical fiction, this is a story you rarely hear about. Lovely review.

    • Diana
      September 8, 2017

      Yeah, I read a lot of historical fiction but this is my first one set in South Africa and covering the Boer war. I definitely recommend it and I hope that you will love it as much as I did if you get a chance to read it. Thank you 🙂

  5. I don’t know very much about the Boer War, so this sounds especially interesting to me. Nice review Diana!😊

    • Diana
      September 11, 2017

      Thanks Kim. I didn’t know much about the war too. Most of the historical fiction that I have read feature the world wars but not this one. Glad that I got know something about it though through this book.

      Thank you 🙂

  6. Jasmine
    September 8, 2017

    I saw this book on Goodreads Giveaway the other day. I love the cover. So beautiful! I do like how it’s based on a true story. I’m glad you enjoyed the read. I will have to plan on reading it. Since it’s during the war, I can imagine how sad it is.. Excellent review Diana!

    • Diana
      September 19, 2017

      It was an emotional though quite powerful read. I hope that you will get a chance to read it soon. Thanks Jasmine 🙂

  7. leaningagainstthemast
    September 9, 2017

    This sounds very interesting. There is something about viewing the world through the eyes of a kid just learning about the harshness of life. It changes you in ways you didn’t know you needed change! I just read Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones and the character of Matilda is similar in some ways with Lottie (on the basis of what you described.) I suggest you read that one too. I reviewed it if you need convincing 😉 but that book affected my mind and heart SOOO much that I want to intrpduce it to as many people as I can.

    Oh, and I loved your review of the book and seeing as the title is very interesting and impressive 😂, I think I will read it. 😊

    • Diana
      September 19, 2017

      Thank you and I do like child narrators too because of their different, innocent POV. It really does make us look at life differently. I will check out your review of Mister Pip.

      Thanks 🙂

  8. Grab the Lapels
    September 9, 2017

    I wonder if there was a particular character who was supposed to represent the author’s relative. Tommy, perhaps?

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This entry was posted on September 8, 2017 by in Book Review, Bookish Post and tagged , , , .
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