Review: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Title: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice
Author: Rebecca Connolly
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia—the one ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.

Shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912, the captain of the Carpathia, Arthur Rostron, wakes to a distress signal from the Titanic, which has struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Though information is scarce, Rostron leaps into action, determined to answer the call for help. But the Carpathia is more than four hours away, and there are more questions than answers: Will his ship hold together if pushed to never-before-tested speeds? What if he also strikes an iceberg? And with the freezing temperatures, will there be any survivors by the time the Carpathia arrives?

Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on Titanic, and she is among the last to receive instruction and help after it hits an iceberg. Despite the chaos of abandoning ship, Kate is able to board a lifeboat, though after seeing the Titanic sink into the abyss and hearing the cries from hundreds of people still in the water, she wonders if any rescue is even possible.

Told in alternating chapters from both Captain Rostron and Kate Connolly.


On April 15, 1912, the ship Carpathia received a distress message from the Titanic that it had struck an iceberg. Captain Rostron had to decide if they would go there to help. His ship was smaller, and there could be dangerous icebergs on the way, but he made the tough decision to rescue the passengers on the Titanic. Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on the Titanic. She’s in the last group to make it to the deck of the ship but she’s able to board a lifeboat. However, in all the chaos and destruction, Kate wonders if rescue is even possible. 

I’ve heard stories about the Titanic but I had never heard of the Carpathia or Captain Rostron. That’s unfortunate because Captain Rostron was the true hero that night. He made tough decisions and put his crew and passengers at risk to possibly rescue people on the Titanic. Despite the odds, he was able to rescue a third of the passengers from the Titanic. 

This was an incredible story. I liked that it was told in alternating chapters between Captain Rostron and Kate. This gave perspectives of both ships, from the person who was rescuing the Titanic passengers and a passenger from the Titanic. I was surprised at how early in the story the Titanic struck the iceberg, but that was just the beginning of this rescue story. 

A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice is an important story that everyone should know!

Thank you Shadow Mountain for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo

Have you read A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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