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Review: Star-Crossed


Title: Star-Crossed
Author: Minnie Darke
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Romance
Page Count: 368
Published by: Ballantine Books
Date Published: May 21, 2019
You can find a copy here: Bookshop.org


Do you believe in destiny? Do you put power in the stars? Can our horoscope actually help us make life decisions?

For aspiring actor Nick Miller, yes to all the above. He religiously follows the horoscopes from his trusted Leo Thornbury, recluse writer of the popular Australian magazine, The Star. Childhood friend, first crush, and recently promoted writer at The Star, Justine Carmichael, does not. While Nick uses the advice from Leo Thornbury as gospel to influence most of his major life choices, Justine thinks horoscopes are pretty much rubbish.

When a chance encounter reunites the two friends, Justine, who has never fully recovered from her childhood crush is thrilled. Until Nick doesn’t call. Intimidated by Justine’s cleverness, he assumes she isn’t interested, while prideful and guarded Justine sees it as snub. Determined to not let Nick slip away again, Justine turns to the horoscopes and begins to tweak the monthly column. But everything she writes seems to have the opposite affect and the consequences of her words are far reaching. Will these star crossed lovers ever find their way to each other?


I guess I never really thought about the stars and their influence on our lives, our decisions. I pretty much avoid horoscopes because they usually just leave me anxious about potential adversity coming my way. I’d rather be surprised. But, as the premise of a fun rom-com, this was a really well crafted idea.

While I found Justine’s decision of rewriting the horoscope of her friend in order to direct him into her arms quite juvenile and frustrating – why not just talk to him? – it did make for a fun premise. Even if I had to grit my teeth a bit and bear it … most romantic comedies have a bit of eye-rolling/suspension of belief, right? However, if you allow it, this could ruin the whole for you. So be warned.

What balanced the story for me, and ultimately kept me reading, was the numerous threads that Minnie Darke wove – cascading outwards and showcasing how Justine’s words affected far reaching people and the ripple effect of those decisions. In a very Love Actually styled plot, a metric ton of seemingly unconnected characters are dumped on the reader for the first half of the story and little by little those stories begin to interconnect and weave together, culminating all on New Years Eve. If Love Actually is one of your favourite holiday movies, and you’re patient enough to wait to see how it all ties together, you’ll enjoy this read. If not, you may want to steer clear. There are a lot of side stories and voices to keep track of.

Overall I really enjoyed this smart romantic comedy, that really begs to become a movie. While the juvenile decision of the main character irritated me at times and I usually get frustrated by plot lines that can be resolved by simple conversations … for some reason the whole was better than its parts. I really enjoyed the exploration into the signs of the zodiac and Minnie Darke’s interpretation of how star sign influences personality. The ripple effect of our seemingly unimportant decisions is always a fun plot to follow and I personally enjoy the slow reveal of the interconnections of a large cast of characters. Maybe a bit implausible, but ultimately a feel good and cheeky story.

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