A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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The Brilliance of Stars by J'nell Ciesielski: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Amid the chaos of the Great War, two elite assassins learn precisely how dangerous it is to have something—or someone—worth losing.

Washington, DC, 1914. Ivy Olwen knows how to survive on the streets without two coins to rub together. Then destiny thrusts her into the nest of a covert agency of assassins sworn to drive back the world’s darkness, and she acquires a new set of lethal skills. Her education—from explosives to etiquette, sharpshooting to sabotage—is as far reaching as the organization’s missions. But it’s the hours she spends among the towering bookshelves in the library and stargazing on the roof with Agent Jack Vale that make her heart fly.

Jack knew plenty of hardship before the agency refined his rough edges, transforming him into the man who never misses. But he didn’t know the feeling of home until Ivy entered his world. Now Jack’s heart drums with a singular purpose: he will fight for her, fight alongside her. No matter the cost.

When the pair is sent on a seemingly simple mission to take down Russia’s newest and most dangerous arms dealer—a soulless man using the Great War as an opportunity to further his own depraved agenda—they discover that no amount of training could have prepared them for a manhunt that takes them across the frozen tundra, to the Crimean Peninsula, and along the Trans-Siberian Railway . . . only to discover that there is evil in the world they will never understand.

The first book of an epic duology from bestselling author J’nell Ciesielski, The Brilliance of Stars incorporates her signature blend of thrilling adventure, glamorous espionage, and sweeping romance.

Bestselling author with a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black-and-white movies. She is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com. Instagram: @jnellciesielski; Facebook: @J’nellCiesielski.

Anytime I see a J'nell Ciesielski book, I am immediately drawn in. Okay, yes, her always stunning covers may have a little something to do with that... but I also know the storytelling skill that I will find behind the covers as well. This is no exception with a beautifully written story that offers the perfect blend of history, romance and spy action! 

Sometimes before writing a review, I like to check out what other readers have thought about the book as well. I was a bit surprised when I read other reviewers saying they felt like this one-despite being published by a Christian publisher and being marketing as such- didn't really read as a Christian novel. I suppose that really depends on exactly what it is you're looking for in Christian fiction. For me personally, I read Christian fiction not because I necessarily think that every story needs to quote scripture and be overtly Christian, but because I know they won't contain language or otherwise inappropriate content. This particular book didn't have much (if any) talk of God, faith, etc and also did have a fade to black love scene between a married couple. While it certainly might be more than a lot of books in the genre, it was quite tame and again between a married couple as well... though I can certainly see where some readers might not prefer that, it personally did not bother me at all. That is certainly something to keep in mind depending on your preferences though. 

Overall, this is an enjoyable read that fans of historical romance are sure to want to check out. 


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