By: Amy Brill
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
It is 1845, and Hannah Gardner Price has lived all twenty-four years of her life according to the principles of the Nantucket Quaker community in which she was raised, where simplicity and restraint are valued above all, and a woman’s path is expected to lead to marriage and motherhood. But up on the rooftop each night, Hannah pursues a very different—and elusive—goal: discovering a comet and thereby winning a gold medal awarded by the King of Denmark, something unheard of for a woman.
And then she meets Isaac Martin, a young, dark-skinned whaler from the Azores who, like herself, has ambitions beyond his expected station in life. Drawn to his intellectual curiosity and honest manner, Hannah agrees to take Isaac on as a student. but when their shared interest in the stars develops into something deeper, Hannah’s standing in the community begins to unravel, challenging her most fundamental beliefs about work and love, and ultimately changing the course of her life forever.
I loved this book. It was a slower pace than what I have been reading lately and I thoroughly enjoyed the change. I thought it would be a nice novel - historical, charting how Hannah became an astronomer and whatnot. What I didn't expect was that the book would explore the difficulties of racial issues, reconciling the faith of your fathers with your personal belief system, and gender equality.
All of these subjects - which are still relevant to our time - were covered without coming across as didactic. Hannah was a great lens through which to view the time because in her pursuit for truth she didn't seem to have the ability to see the importance of color, gender or belief. She simply went quietly in search of truth. I loved how she was able to stand up for her beliefs, declare what was in her heart - but still love those who believed differently than she did.
Hannah is a strong, flawed and complete character and I loved to read on her story and go with her through her journey. It was a wonderful read.