Harbor for the Nightingale is the fourth book in the Stranje House series and to say I've been looking forward to it would be an understatement. This series began with A School for Unusual Girls, one of my favorite YA debuts, and has been getting better and better with each book. This time we're experiencing the story from the point of view of Maya Barrington, an Indian girl with an unusual gift. She has the ability to influence others through her voice, and she senses the world around her in the same way. Sound is a medium for her to communicate but also a way for her to sense the intentions or emotional state of others. And the neat part is there's an author note at the end that sheds a little light on this and the origins of the character.
The thing I like about this is it's not really magic per se- this is a series grounded in the real world, even though it's an alternate history of sorts. The year is 1814 and Napoleon threatens England, and as in the previous books the girls of Stranje House are thick in the intrigues. It's almost an alternate timeline where things have occurred differently, and so history is taking a somewhat different course. This also plays into the overarching theme of the series, which is that everyone makes changes to the world around them everyday, and in the lives of those around them. It's a fascinating idea, and true when you think about it- I love how this has formed the underpinning of the story.
So this one starts out with the girls having a coming- out ball, and the intrigue and romantic entanglements begin from there! The girls are now highly visible in London society and are well known in the upper echelons of the aristocracy, so this lends a higher stakes element to the plot. The girls must not only navigate the treacherous waters swirling around Napoleon and his desire to subjugate England, but they have to walk the high society tightrope as well. This novel felt like settling in with old friends at this point, and I'm happy to report this book was as readable and compelling as the previous stories.
Each novel has an element of romance to go along with the intrigue, and here Maya is paired with Lord Kinsworth, a charming rogue with a heart of gold who just happens to confound Maya. She is used to being able to read others, even manipulate them to an extent with her talents, but Kinsworth frustrates her since she has trouble reading him. Could that be because they are more alike than she realizes? There are the usual misunderstandings and a scene where Maya had to set him straight for the good of the mission- it was almost painful to read because you knew it was breaking her heart to do it, but she had to for the good of the mission.
All in all I can't say enough about this series. Alternate history, friendships and intrigues galore, suspense and action- this one, like the rest, has it all. And Napoleon shows up as well! Maya and Sera have always seemed a little different from the other girls, and I was happy to see in this one that Maya's friendship with Sera was not only examined but strengthened. The next book will be from Sera's POV and in many ways I've been looking forward to that one the most! At the same time we see enough of Georgie, Lady Jane and Tess so that it still feels like an ensemble- I love how the characters each retain their personalities and get moments to shine. This is, quite simply, an awesome addition to a stellar series.
This book sounds fascinating -- I need to check out the rest of this series! Thnaks for the heads up Greg!ReplyDelete
I like the covers for the books in this series but this one is the best.ReplyDelete
Great cover. I really need to look into this series more. Great review and it's obvious how much you love these.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you're continuing to enjoy the series. That cover is so beautiful!ReplyDelete
I'm all for a series where each book has an element of romance. It's awesome that this series seems to be getting stronger with each book, as well. I love that, you think you're onto a winner with the first book and by book four it's still improving and it's awesome. I do love a good alternate history, this is definitely a book I'll adding to the TBR (although, maybe I'll add the first book on there first).ReplyDelete
Love the cover of this one. And it's so satisfying when a series continues to grow stronger.ReplyDelete
I have to take a look at the cover for book 1, that is how I rememberReplyDelete
I am so far behind in this series! I need to hurry and catch up because this one sounds awesome. :)ReplyDelete
You've got me really intrigued now. I'll have to check out the first book because this sounds like a great series, different and very engaging.ReplyDelete
This does sound really good - and it's great that you're loving the most recent edition and it's not flagging at all. I love the cover too.ReplyDelete
This series is new to me but it sounds really interesting! I will check it out!ReplyDelete
I am seriously going to need to start this series. I have the first book. Is it weird that the dress on the cover changing so significantly from the first book to this one makes me even more eager to read it? I mean- how'd she go from petticoats to... whatever this is!? So glad that the series is still going strong!!ReplyDelete
Glad you're enjoying this series, I do like romance and intrigue. Great cover too.ReplyDelete
very nice cover. what a way to end your reading slump. :-)ReplyDelete
sherry @ fundinmental
This sounds like an amazing series! I am so glad it lived up to your expectations.ReplyDelete
I LOVE charming rogues with a heart of gold Greg! Great review!!!ReplyDelete
That cover rules!! Awesome review!ReplyDelete
Great cover and I love when stories do an alternate take on history!ReplyDelete
I can see why you're chomping at the bits to read this. It sounds wonderful.ReplyDelete
I have read the first three books in this series, and I have enjoyed each and every single one. I love seeing the feminism at the core, and how the author includes but still plays with the historical fiction elements as well. I have not yet gotten around to this one, but your review has me all the more excited to read it :DReplyDelete