The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter by John Pipkin – Book Review

I must say that I absolutely loved this novel.  It takes place during an extraordinary time (late 18th century) of advances in science.  Arthur Ainsworth becomes intrigued with observing the skies, looking to find new comets.  He moves with his wife to a decrepit estate in Ireland for the clearer night sky to help with his observations. When his wife dies in childbirth along with her twin babies, Arthur raises an orphan he names Caroline as his own daughter.

Pipkin not only gives us insight into the “new” science of astronomy, but also the interesting various scientific rivalries, by bringing in another astronomer located in England, along with his sister who has the same role of assistant as Caroline.  Pipkin also brings an understanding of what happens to a country under colonial rule, from the poverty to the hopelessness of the Irish people.  I must add that this part of the Irish story isn’t all that well-known to most people, so it made me pretty glad to see it told here.

This is a fabulous story.  Caroline is a wonderfully drawn character, from her impoverished beginnings, to her ability to create a life of her own after the death of her father.  This wasn’t her only reincarnation, and they were all heroic.  This was another novel that I couldn’t put down.  I highly recommend this book.  Well done, Pipkin.

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