Isabelle Broom’s latest novel, One Thousand Stars and You, is set in Sri Lanka, not somewhere I know at all. However, I was confident that I could vicariously travel there because Isabelle Broom writes about place so very well. She took me to Prague in A Year and a Day and that’s still tiding me over until I actually go.
Alice is settling down. It might not be the adventurous life she once imagined, but more than anything she wants to make everyone happy – her steady boyfriend, her over-protective mother – even if it means a little part of her will always feel stifled.
Max is shaking things up. After a devastating injury, he is determined to prove himself. To find the man beyond the disability, to escape his smothering family and go on an adventure.
A trip to Sri Lanka is Alice’s last hurrah – her chance to throw herself into the heat, chaos and colour of a place thousands of miles from home. It’s also the moment she meets Max.
Alice doesn’t know it yet, but her whole life is about to change. Max doesn’t know it yet, but he’s the one who’s going to change it.
Before we’re whisked away to Sri Lanka, we see Alice at home and this shows us why we she so badly needs this exotic trip, filled with the possibility for adventure. I was as relieved as Alice that her friends Maureen and Steph had persuaded her to go on this joint 30th birthday celebration trip, and was willing her not to cancel. (I know she wouldn’t have because otherwise this would have been a short book but I was pretty anxious for her to leave the UK behind for a couple of weeks.)
When the story switches to Sri Lanka, Isabelle Broom lands you right in all the colour and chaos of Sri Lanka from airport arrivals through taxi transfers, tuk tuk rides and packed train journeys to night-time mountain climbs to see the sunrise and onto a photogenic safari with a hairy encounter. She describes the scenery and animal life, the heat and humidity, the tastes and sounds of the country so well that I imagined myself there. I could understand why Alice comes alive there and feels more her true self. Read more