The Stars in the Night by Clare Rhoden

A Moving and Poignant Story about Resilience and Love

The Stars in the Night tells the story of Semaphore lad, Harry Fletcher. In 1914, Harry and his adopted brother enlist to fight in ‘the war to end all wars’ despite his Irish mother’s disapproval. The narrative moves from Australia to Gallipoli, Egypt, the trenches of Passchendaele and back to Australia and is richly painted with the details of everyday life for the soldiers involved.

Clare Rhoden’s skilful story telling keeps our attention firmly on Harry’s personal experience of the war and what he would have known of its progress. Through his eyes, we see the brutality and futility of trench warfare, the huge reliance of the men on each other and the vital lifeline that the letters and parcels from loved ones at home represented. Harry endures terrible losses but also finds comfort in his relationship with others.

The book begins in 1970, Harry has survived the war but his personal scars, both physical and emotional, stay with him. This is a moving and tender study about the awful reality of war and its enduring legacy of damage for those involved. And yet it is also a hopeful story about the healing power of family and love.  

Many thanks to Clare Rhoden and Odyssey Books for the copy of The Stars in the Night.