Starlight and Promises

Written by Cat Lindler
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

In 1891, British botanist Richard Colchester and his friend James Truett come across a smilodon (saber-tooth tiger) while visiting an island near Tasmania. Richard sends a letter to his niece, Samantha Colchester, asking her to arrange a secret expedition to verify the finding. Samantha invites the handsome and arrogant American scientist Christian Badia. The loathing between Samantha and Christian is matched only by their physical attraction to one another. The two travel across the world to find the extinct cat and the now-missing Richard and James, who have been kidnapped by pirates as part of a revenge scheme.

The sex between Samantha and Christian is erotic, but the plot struggles. The story takes a long time to get to the intrigue and adventure in Tasmania, focusing instead on the conflict between Sam and Christian. Samantha is independent and strong-willed, but she is also stupid, making identification with her character difficult. The wealthy aristocrats happily act as servants on board ship, and Sam’s strict aunt allows Sam and Christian to take a three-day hike, alone, through the wilderness. Some readers of historical romance may be able to disregard these problems, but they were hard for me to ignore.