- Our Child of the Stars.
- Stephen Cox.
- 496 pages.
- Science Fiction / Fiction.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
In this magical, bewitching debut, Molly and Gene Myers’ marriage is on the brink of collapse. Then a child arrives, with a remarkable appearance. Will he bring them together, or tear their whole world apart?
Molly and Gene Myers were happy, until tragedy blighted their hopes of children. During the years of darkness and despair, they each put their marriage in jeopardy, but now they are starting to rebuild their fragile bond.
This is the year of Woodstock and the moon landings; war is raging in Vietnam and the superpowers are threatening each other with annihilation.
Then the Meteor crashes into Amber Grove, devastating the small New England town – and changing their lives for ever. Molly, a nurse, caught up in the thick of the disaster, is given care of a desperately ill patient rescued from the wreckage: a sick boy with a remarkable appearance, an orphan who needs a mother.
And soon the whole world will be looking for him.
Cory’s arrival has changed everything. And the Myers will do anything to keep him safe.
A remarkable story of warmth, tenacity and generosity of spirit, set against the backdrop of a fast-changing, terrifying decade.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Gene and Molly Myers have been through so much grief, loss and pain. Then, along comes Cory, thrust into their lives in an unconventional way. A survivor of the Amber Grove meteor crash, an orphan, someone to help heal their wounds. He gives them hope, a purpose and the possibility of a future.
It was a normal day, like any other in 1960’s Amber Grove, a small town in Amber County, New England and then, the sky fell to earth as a meteor struck. Many were injured and died with fires raging throughout the town.
In the aftermath of the meteor strike Molly Myers, a nurse is in the thick of it, helping the injured until she is tasked with looking after an alien child, secretly brought into the hospital after being rescued from the wreckage of a spacecraft found at the meteor site.
The alien child, who Molly starts calling ‘Cory‘ is kept in isolation in the hospital with only the head Doctor and a few other nurses knowing of his existence. During her time spent caring for him Molly bonds with Cory and he helps the darkness abate for her. Molly looks beyond his strange appearance and sees Cory for who he is, not what he is. Cory isn’t an ‘alien‘ to her, he is a child in need.
The FBI, the US government and the army led by Dr Pfeiffer, the President’s chief scientific counsel and a germ warfare specialist all become involved. They cordon off the lake near to Amber Grove and keep the public away under the cover story of residual radiation from the meteor crash. Hiding the truth that there is a damaged alien spacecraft submerged and that they are investigating it. If Dr Pfeiffer knew the truth about Cory and that he survived the crash then he would experiment and run tests on him, he would be a resource, a weapon and not a person.
With her spending so much time at the hospital and looking after Cory as he continues to recover from the crash Molly brings Gene, her husband in on the secret. After some initial reticence, he too bonds with Cory, the strange looking little boy.
Dr Pfeiffer knows that something is remiss and that there is something going on in the hospital. To keep him out of the government’s prying hands Dr Jarman (the head of the hospital) and Molly devise a plan and they fake Cory’s death saying that an alien child did, in fact, survive the crash but died shortly after and offered no important information about his race or why they were coming to Earth. To keep him safe Cory is taken to the Myers house where he is hidden away from the wider world and becomes their son and they become a family.
The everyday life of the new family is filled with happiness but it is also shrouded in a constant state of uncertainty over what the future holds. With the continued investigation of the crash site, Dr Pfeiffer asking questions and everyone searching for the truth Molly and Gene know that at any time the glass could shatter and that every knock on the door could be the government. They live in constant fear of discovery and to protect him they have to be ready to flee with Cory at a moment’s notice.
There is some great characterisation by Cox on display throughout Our Child of the Stars. Neither Molly or Gene are perfect and both they and their relationship have flaws. They have endured ups and downs, their plight and circumstances grip you and they are fully-fleshed likeable characters that make you feel. The secondary characters, even those with only a minor role are all well-realised and have a part to play in the story too.
And then there is Cory who is the star of the book and shines brightly. As a character, Cory is adventurous, clever, curious and inquisitive. To the reader, he is utterly endearing and you can’t but be drawn towards him. He is enthusiastic about everything and in turn, everything is a new discovery and experience for him but, hidden beneath that enthusiasm and joy there is also loneliness to him, a sadness. His is an isolated existence, mainly confined to the space between the four walls of the Myers household, he has no other children to play with and all of his own kind are either dead from the crash or remain on his home planet millions of miles away.
We get to learn more about Cory’s origin, his homeworld and his species through his dreams. Cory is able to project his dreams, his nightmares and his feelings onto others so that they can feel what he feels and see what he sees too.
Cox does a good job of transporting you back in time to the 1960s. Setting his story in a small and sleepy town against the backdrop of changing times, of the Moon landings, of Woodstock and of the Vietnam War was a masterstroke on his part as he brings the decade to life.
Our Child of the Stars isn’t fast-paced or action-packed, it’s not that type of story. It’s a slow burn until later in the book when Cox lights the touch paper and then, the pacing, the scope and in a sense, the action all pick-up. What Cox gives you with Our Child of the Stars is an emotional story that is filled with tension and one that has an underlying intensity to it. It is a quietly impactful enchanting story, a poignant portrait of a family life, a story that is threaded with hope, a story that highlights the ties that bind, the strength of those bonds and of those that have been bound together by fate and a story that asks, how far will you go to protect the ones you love?
I hadn’t heard about Our Child of the Stars (until its surprise arrival) and it turned out to be a revelation. It is something unexpected and something wonderful.
I highly recommend it.
Pre-order Our Child of the Stars releasing January 24th, 2019.
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