Press & Reviews

“Read three sentences of Amy Brill's gorgeous The Movement of Stars and you're swiftly transported to the lantern-lit past of 1840s Quaker Nantucket... This book sings with insights about love, work and how we create our own families. (Hannah asks her new sister-in-law, "Is this going to require a show of sentiment or some sort of feminine ritual? I'm afraid I'll be a total failure at either.") And despite the richness of historical and astronomical detail, ultimately this is a story about the question pulsing through every woman alive, brilliant scientist or not: How do you make a contribution to the world without 'forsaking feeling for fact?'”
—Amy Shearn,
“On Nantucket in the 1800s, Hannah Price struggles to obey her Quaker community while becoming an astronomer--her dream. Then exotic Isaac Martin asks to study with her, and she finds she has a lot to learn about love. Inspired by real-life astronomer Maria Mitchell, Brill's Hannah lights the way, like a comet, for women whose minds and hearts lead them beyond boundaries.”
—Anne Leslie, People Magazine
“Brill spins a luxurious romance about stargazing and star-crossing. Hannah Gardner Price, the heroine, driven to succeed in her field and steadfast in her right to do so, eventually becomes embroiled in an interracial romance with Isaac, an Azorean whaler she takes on as a student. Though the setting and subject may brand this a historical novel, the conflicts ring sharply contemporary—career vs. family, racial tension vs. love. I hope to see steampunks on the L train wetting its pages with their artisanal tears.”
—James Hannaham, The Village Voice
“Every time a good writer creates a work of fiction based on the life of a little-known historical figure there is cause for celebration. If the work is conscientious, imaginative, honest, and fluid, like The Movement of Stars, our own firmament expands. That life rises to the surface and helps us to answer the question: How did we get here?”
—Susan Salter Reynolds, Barnes & Noble Review
“Author Amy Brill combines several themes --- women's rights, closed faith communities, life in an isolated place, practicing one's spirituality, pursuing one's dreams --- and weaves them into a well-researched, well-written and entirely believable story that readers will enjoy because the themes are timeless.... It is this reviewer's hope that other trips inspire additional historical novels by this new author.”
—Book Reporter
“Amy Brill shines in her sparkling debut novel, The Movement of Stars, inspired by the work of a 19th-century female astronomer.”
—Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
“In a Nantucket whaling town, Hannah, a 24-year-old Quaker with a knack for navigation and an obsession with the night sky, teams up with an unintentionally controversial man who turns her world upside down... [If you're] an alpha woman who manages to excel in the face of adversity... you'll sympathize with the protagonist and relate to this book's theme.”
—Steph Opitz, Marie Claire
“Brill has created a compelling and likable character in Hannah Price; it’s easy to root for her to find her comet and acknowledge her feelings for Isaac. Hannah’s search during a period of great discovery and advancement in astronomy, as well as her relationship with Isaac amid widespread abolitionist sentiments, adds up to a stirring historical drama.”
“[An] unforgettable main character: Hannah Price has raised sleep deprivation to an art form in Amy Brill's strong debut novel, The Movement of Stars… Brill conveys both Hannah's love for her work and the cramped nature of the society that she outgrew without realizing it.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“A young woman has her eyes opened to her community’s limitations—and her own—in television writer/producer Brill’s strong debut... [The author's] realistic, poignant conclusion gives her appealing protagonist almost equal portions of happiness and sorrow, just as she has done equal justice throughout to the passions of the mind and the flesh.
Probing yet accessible, beautifully written and richly characterized: fine work from a writer to watch.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“In this, her first novel, Amy Brill combines a love story with a political condemnation of racism and misogyny while also squeezing in a fair amount of information about the astronomy of the period. ..Brill has based Hannah on the real-life Nantucket astronomer Maria Mitchell, who won the King of Denmark’s medal for discovering a comet in 1847, so there is plenty of historical precedent for the events of the book...Hannah is not always a pleasant character: sometimes she is self-pitying, sometimes arrogant, but she always tries to be principled and she never gives in. ”
—Liz Sourbut, ARC Magazine
“Brill’s debut raises thought-provoking questions on the limitations to achievement societies impose based on race, gender, or divergent beliefs. For readers of historical fiction, particularly those with an interest in science, who savor the unfolding of a character’s emotional and intellectual development.”
—Library Journal
“A luminously written novel about connections, both scientific and emotional, and how the people around us can either limit or expand our world. Lyrical and poignant... This breathtaking debut about the mysteries of the heavens and the heart honors the perseverance of trailblazing women everywhere.”
—Sarah Johnson, Reading the Past
“Magnificent... Brill writes [with] precision, lyricism, and clarity. The Movement of Stars is a gorgeous and moving story amplified by the author’s handsome prose and stunning use of metaphor. ”
—Jaime Boler, Bookmagnet
“In Hannah, Amy Brill has fashioned an extraordinary character and quiet hero—a woman who charts her own course, and who places knowledge and her own soul’s independence up with the highest, brightest stars.”
—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
“A spectacular debut. I cheered for Hannah Price, our feisty heroine, as she unraveled the mystery of her own desires while burning a trail for other women to follow.”
—Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief
“In this deft and gorgeous debut, Amy Brill has perfectly captured what it means to be a woman fixed in place, even as she yearns for the stars. Like a benevolent Creator, Brill sets in motion the twin stars of uncertainty and faith, passion and reason, and we are helpless to resist their pull.”
—Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger and Witches on the Road Tonight
“A bittersweet story, movingly told. Amy Brill’s novel captures the unique character of mid-nineteenth century Nantucket through the life of Hannah Gardner Price, a talented amateur astronomer. Brill’s uncluttered prose mirrors her heroine’s clear eye and Quaker reserve as Hannah explores both the expanding universe and her burgeoning emotions—amid increasingly binding circumstances.”
—Daphne Kalotay, author of Russian Winter