For Darkness Shows the Stars: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana PeterfreundBeing a Luddite demands a certain set of rules be followed by Elliot North from the subdued colors that should be worn to the avoidance of all technology that caused the Reduction and nearly destroyed humanity.

Being the youngest daughter of Baron North–ostensibly in charge of both the North and Boatwright estates–brings with it both a certain prestige and a certain understanding of what is and is not acceptable.

Years of experience have taught Elliot to be guarded and cautious but even knowing everything her family holds dear, knowing what all Luddites are meant to protect, nothing is enough to stop Elliot from wanting more for herself and the estates.

Four years ago Elliot chose caring for her family estates above all else. The choice was absolute and, she thought, irrevocable.

But four years can change a great many things–even as far from the city as the North estate. With more and more Post-Reductionists appearing, the world itself is changing. There are fewer Reduced being born and more Posts questioning the absolute Luddite authority. In the wake of progress and her father’s frivolous spending, Elliot’s estate is on the verge of failure until Elliot receives an offer to rent the estate to the mysterious (and well-funded) Cloud Fleet.

Four years ago Elliot made a choice. Now, having spent four years thinking of everything keeping her on the estates and everything she has sacrificed for them, Elliot has another choice to make in For Darkness Shows the Stars (2012) by Diana Peterfreund.

Find it on Bookshop.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is Diana Peterfreund’s Post-Apocalypic retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. Because I was so excited about For Darkness Shows the Stars, I read it before I had a chance to check out Persuasion which allows me to say with absolutely certainty that this book stands on its own merit.

Peterfreund uses an unlikely backdrop to reinvent one of literature’s most familiar romances. Evocative settings of the estates quickly make it clear why Elliot is willing to sacrifice so much not just for the staff of her estates but also for the land itself. A well-developed premise makes Elliot’s world believable and captivating before you know anything about the story’s inspiration.

This novel aptly references Persuasion while also adding adornments to the plot that make it utterly unique. Rather than telling the same story in a new place and time, Peterfreund takes Austen’s characters and story one step further by elaborating on the class tensions found in the original text and re-examining and expanding the traits that made Persuasion‘s heroine and hero so appealing in the first place.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a stellar book in every respect as well as one of my favorites from 2012. Already a must-read for Austen fans, I’d also go as far as to say it’s a must read for anyone looking for a beautifully written, completely riveting story.

Possible Pairings: Persuasion by Jane Austen, The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Middlemarch by George Eliot, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier, Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Note: If you enjoy, For Darkness Shows the Stars be sure to also check out Peterfreund’s prequel novella, Among the Nameless Stars which follows Kai’s departure from the North estate. The prequel is available here:

Direct link to the pdf:

Official Book Page:

The prequel is also available for free on Amazon as a Kindle book.

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012

(Check out my recap of BEA 2012 to hear about the epic quest I undertook to get a signed copy of this book.)

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