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A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice  By  cover art

A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

By: Rebecca Connolly
Narrated by: Alana Kerr Collins,Antony Ferguson
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2022 by Rebecca Connolly (P)2022 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Different perspective of the story we all know.

The famous story we all know, told from the perspective of a survivor and the capitan of the RMS Carpathia. I love that this story, while historical fiction, is based on real people. So some liberties were taken. I felt like I was out to sea with them. I found myself crying, being utterly devastated by the sinking of the titanic as if it were the first time I heard of the tragedy.

Beautifully written and the performance of the readers is captivating.

27 people found this helpful

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Brilliant Historical Fiction!

Wow! This book was incredible! The detail and story were heart wrenching. I was brought to tears many times while reading. Whether it was in the Titanic’s point of view, or the Carpathia’s, I felt like I was there with them. Freezing on a life boat or struggling to get to the survivors. So wonderfully told and I will definitely be telling everyone I know to read it!

24 people found this helpful

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Outstanding remembrance of rescue of the 705 survivors of the Titanic.

This made the Titantic’s sinking and rescue of the survivors more real than I’ve ever felt before. I’ve heard about it all my life, but never in this first- hand detail. I sobbed through the last two chapters. This is a profound mostly non-fiction riveting record of the Titantic tragedy and the heroic Catpathia rescue.

18 people found this helpful

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Depressing Plus Religious Dogma Overload

Well! If chapters and chapters of bleakness, fear, grinding social disparity and detailed relating of religious dogma and ritual, punctuated albeit by some upright, admirable, courageous acts are your cup of tea, then A Brilliant Night might suit just fine.

I stuck this book out for over twenty chapters. But, it became too much… and then much too much!

I, who have knelt & stood in mass, taken active parts in plenty of Sacramental experiences, couldn’t believe the extent to which this author dedicated her book to relating dogma as part of the story. Shortly after being regaled by a surprisingly full rendition of the Catholic Rite of Committal, where five unfortunates from the Titanic disaster were buried at sea, I finally told myself, “Enough!” and marked Brilliant as finished, wrote this review — and requested a refund.

Alana Kerr Collins, one of the two narrators, does have a pleasant a cappella voice and Antony Ferguson reads his parts fine enough, but neither his okay-enough relating nor her a cappella singing — of the complete first two verses of Amazing Grace — could come close to making up for the tedious droning on and on of this account.

Also, my lineage is Western Ireland and I have heard many family and friends’ Irish accents, but this narrator’s insistent, repeated pronunciation “cam” for “calm”, “bam” for “balm”, etc is utterly irritating. I’ve previously made the mistake of selecting books read by this Alana Kerr Collins and I need to remember: never again! Her predictable, rather sad-sack, dour, sing-song cadence and fluctuations of her voice, along with the irritating pronunciations, I find anything but “caming”!

While I respect that this fictionalized account is an intimate and heartfelt one of tragedy and hope, based on family and historical facts, A Brilliant Night sorely needed editing waaaay down in so many facets, likely cut to half or fewer chapters.

5 people found this helpful

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Too Many Hymns and Too Trite

I’m a Titanic buff and was readily attracted to the book. Sadly I found it trite and predictable. Too many sections seemed to be drawn out, for examples the hymns - the author could have given the first line or two and then go to …. Sadly she did not. Same on some of the dialogues.

I do not recommend this book, even to Titanic buffs.

3 people found this helpful

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Something missing here

I was looking forward to a new perspective to the sinking of the Titanic. It did give that, but the characters (the Carpathia captain and a poor Irish immigrant) never came alive to me, and there was not really a story line other than it covered the aftermath aboard the Carpathia. Maybe I have read too much about the Titanic, and this fell flat to me. I listened to more than half and then just quit.

3 people found this helpful

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  • KC
  • 10-23-22

This audiobook is a sinking ship

Boring! Nothing exciting or new. I kept going because I was hoping the story would get better. This is a good one for those who want a nap.

2 people found this helpful

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Too Much Titanic; Not Enough Carpathia

I was hoping this would be a book focusing more on the Carpathia, but it was a novel with two perspectives....one from a Titanic survivor and one from the captain of the Carpathia. I found the Carpathia narrative very interesting, but the Titanic narrative just seemed overly melodramatic, focusing more on thoughts, feelings, angst...less on facts and actions. This was just my opinion, and I am sure that others did enjoy that part. Because it was indeed a very melodramatic event filled with pain and angst. For my part, I already knew that. I was interested in learning about the other ship and her story. The afterword of this book did provide some history on the Carpathia and what became of many of the people the story was based upon. I appreciated that.

The male narrator telling the story of the Carpathia was excellent. He deserved five stars. I grew very weary of the female narrator though and found myself fast forwarding through her sections. We already knew where it was going and her Irish accent was just over the top. Plus, I don't read or listen to books to be sang to. There was no need for that.

2 people found this helpful

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An old fashioned book- for better or worse

if you read the other reviews of this book you will find it to be a referendum on old-fashioned values and writing style. The all of the major characters in the book are devout christians (of various stripes) and the book devotes several chapters exclusively to religious services in which they participated. The book also has an almost Victorian sentimentality that those who prefer a more modern style may find mawkish. Readers not put off by the book's religiosity and it's turn of the twentieth century sentimentality will enjoy a fresh retelling of the Titanic's sinking from a different viewpoint. The book is very well researched and very lightly fictionalized. It might have been more exciting if she had invented more characters to provide drama; Almost everyone in the story behaves very well in a trying situation and none of the major characters have demons against which to struggle.
As to the performances, the book contains several hymns that run to several verses on the text and the female narrator has a fine voice and did very creditable Acapella renditions.

1 person found this helpful

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A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Plot. The sinking of the Titanic, told primarily from the viewpoint of a 3rd class female survivor. Focus is on the Captain and crew of the Carpathia, the ship that responded to Titanic's distress calls and raced to assist in rescue. The book does not address technical details of the sinking, but rather human tragedy, heroism, and loss of life. Although the fundamental history is known by most, you'll learn a bit. For instance, the Carpathia navigated dozens of icebergs hundreds of feet tall to reach lifeboats. There was also an immediate blame-game furor by many, including the United States Senate.

Liked: It's a good recounting of events, some fiction, but most is a well-researched history.

Not so hot: Gratuitously maudlin in areas, especially with regard to religious aspects - the narrator sings hymns.

Written by Rebecca Connolly, narrated by Alana Kerr Collins and Antony Ferguson, just over eight hours of listening in unabridged format, released in April 2022 by Shadow Mountain.

1 person found this helpful

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  • LM KIRKMAN
  • 09-12-22

Robotic narration!

Oh my gosh, first chapter and I can't continue. The narration is so tediously robotic. Checked settings and speed, this did nothing to soften the coarse, matter-of-fact narration.