The Lost History of Stars

Written by Dave Boling
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

By September 1900, the Anglo-Boer War has been fought for a year. Members of the Venter family are Afrikaners trying to protect their land from British invaders. Living on their farm are adolescent sisters Lettie and Cecelia, along with their little brother, Willem, and their mother. The children’s father, grandfather, and older brother are soldiers in the Afrikaner army, who are away fighting the British. Eventually British soldiers arrive at the farm, burn the buildings, and transport the family to a concentration camp, where they, along with many of their friends, are constantly under the threat of starvation and disease. Lettie keeps a journal of their experience while befriending a young British soldier guarding their encampment.

This novel of survival under harsh conditions is told from her young girl’s perspective. Prepare to be immersed in the story. Boling has based his novel on his grandfather’s experience as a camp guard for the British Army during the war. He portrays the women’s strength in dealing with life-and-death struggles and their loss of freedom while trying to provide a home for their family. This story will remain with you long after you have finished the book.