The Blind Astronomer's Daughter

The Blind Astronomer's Daughter

by John Pipkin


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A transporting historical novel from the acclaimed author of Woodsburner.

In late-eighteenth-century Ireland, Caroline Ainsworth learns that her life is not what it seems when her father, Arthur, an astronomer gone blind from staring at the sun, throws himself from his rooftop observatory. His vain search for an unknown planet and jealousy over astronomer William Herschel's discovery of Uranus had driven him to madness. Grief-stricken, Caroline leaves Ireland for London.

But her father has left behind a cryptic atlas that holds the secret to finding a new world at the edge of the sky. As Caroline reluctantly resumes her father's work, she must confront her own longings, including her love for her father's former assistant, the tinkering blacksmith Finnegan O'Siodha. Then Ireland is swept into rebellion, and Catherine and Finnegan are plunged into its violence.

A novel about the obsessions of the age—scientific inquiry, geographic discovery, political reformation, but above all, astronomy—The Blind Astronomer's Daughter encapsulates the quest for knowledge and for human connection. It is rich, far-reaching, and unforgettable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632861894
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 750,317
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

John Pipkin was born in Baltimore and received his Ph.D. in British literature from Rice University. His first novel, Woodsburner, was named one of the best books of 2009 by the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the San Francisco Chronicle. It won the Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction, the Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Pipkin lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and son.

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The Blind Astronomer's Daughter 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
onemused More than 1 year ago
"The Blind Astronomer's Daughter" is a novel about the insanity of passion for discovery and love. Arthur is an astronomer who marries Theodosia and loves her greatly. She gives birth to twin girls who die not long after birth, and Arthur gets an infant from Mr. O'Siodha, who had found her and Finnegan, to try to convince his wife to live. Unfortunately, it is too late to save his wife, but he raises Caroline as his daughter. Together, they become obsessed with looking at the stars, searching for a planet to name after his wife. Caroline looks during the night, while he looks during the day, straight at the sun, until he fits blind. His obsessions with love and science drive him crazy until he takes his own life. The daughter he raised shares these obsessions, except her love is for Finnegan, for whom she experiences love at first sight. Finn shares her passion, and creates his career of medical devices based on one he created for her and her crippled hand. The book also flashes to William and another Caroline (Lina), who is also crippled by past diseases. These siblings discover a planet before Arthur and Caroline and several comets. They fuel more of the scientific fervor for the astronomy community. Linda is a strong woman in a man's world, making her own discoveries. This is more of historical fiction and romance is an afterthought. It's a take of passion, obsession, and conflict- directed toward the stars. It's a well written book with heavy descriptions and lovely phrasing which flows like silk. It deals with some intense and oft depressing issues, but in a way that reads like poetry. Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley.