This is an entertaining historical novel that hits all the right tropes for me. Agnes Resolute is your typical Victorian pseudo-feminist protagonist. She’s a plucky orphan searching for her long-lost mother, and no matter how rough and sexist the Victorian world is, nothing is going to keep her down. Much adventure (and some romance) ensues. Huzzah!
There wasn’t anything I didn’t like . . . except for the framing device of a present-day woman coming home to take care of her ailing mother and finding a letter written by Agnes’s long-lost mother. Even though the book starts in the present-day woman’s point of view, I never connected with her and I found her chapters to be jarring interruptions. I ended up skimming them. Honestly, I skimmed the letter as well. It’s a bog standard tragic romance, and it wasn’t nearly as interesting as Agnes’s adventures.
In a nutshell: I quite liked Stars Across the Ocean, but I would have liked it even more if Freeman hadn’t tried to pull a Kate Morton and interest me in multiple timelines.