I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Star Crossed by Minnie Darke today. This is something of a departure from my usual genres, but it’s a novel I really enjoyed, and I can see it being a big hit this summer.
In this sparkling romantic comedy, a young journalist tampers with her magazine’s horoscopes to win her friend’s heart – and sets in motion an unpredictable and often hilarious ripple effect…
Destiny doesn’t happen by accident…
When Justine Carmichael (Sagittarius, aspiring journalist and sceptic) bumps into her teenage crush Nick Jordan (Aquarius, struggling actor and true believer) it could be by chance. Or it could be written in the stars.
Justine works at the Alexandria Park Star – and Nick, she now learns, relies on the magazine’s astrology column to guide him in life.
Looking for a way to get Nick’s attention, Justine has the idea of making a few small alterations to the horoscope for Aquarius before it goes to print.
After all, it’s only the stars. What could possibly go wrong?
Star Crossed is a perfect love story for fans of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Josie Silver.
I have a lot in common with Justine Carmichael, including a star sign (a birthday, no less) and a healthy scepticism of astrology. Sagittarians (apparently) have the following characteristics:
- Strengths: Generous, idealistic, great sense of humour
- Weaknesses: Promise more than they can deliver, very impatient, will say anything no matter how undiplomatic
- Likes: Freedom, travel, philosophy, being outdoors
- Dislikes: Clingy people, being constrained, off-the-wall theories, details
And to be fair, I do see a lot of myself in the above, particularly when it comes to being blunt and impatient. My issue is that if I were to pick one of the eleven other star signs at random, I expect I’d find elements of myself in them as well.
In this way, Justine, newly promoted to contributions editor at the Alexandria Park Star, doesn’t see any issue in tweaking the horoscope for Aquarius ever so slightly in order to give Nick Jordan – childhood friend and aspiring actor – a nudge into giving her a call after she runs into him one day. Totally professional and incredibly thorough in every other respect (I love the fact that she carries a pen with her at all times in order to correct spelling and grammatical errors on signs, menus etc.), she sees no harm in giving him a gentle nudge in the right direction via this rather unusual medium.
Justine is a fantastic character, and one who is very easy to relate to, whatever your star sign. She spends so much time at work that she often doesn’t cook for herself in the evenings, and I found it refreshing to read about someone who is too lazy to do all the things that should be done in the evenings after a long, hard day at the office. I also loved the internal monologues Justine has with “Brain”, arguing, reasoning, and generally trying not to focus on the nagging voice in her head telling her she should have done this, said that etc. We’ve all done it, and I thought that these brief, internal monologues worked brilliantly throughout.
Star Crossed takes place over the course of a year, with chapters following star signs rather than months. Given the theme of the book, this structure worked nicely, and allowed for the inclusion of “cusps” between chapters. I loved the double-meaning of these brief interludes, which denote the transition to a new horoscope, but also being at the point of making a decision. It’s here that the reader sees the impact of Justine’s tinkering with the horoscopes, as choices – good and bad – are made based upon the horoscopes in Justine’s paper. These often feature minor characters, and offer humorous asides to the ongoing will they / won’t they between Justine and Nick.
The novel carries a Romeo and Juliet theme throughout. Nick is currently playing Romeo in a theatre production, and Justine often helps him with his lines. Of course, the reader can’t help but note that they were the original star-crossed lovers, and this did make me wonder how things would turn out for Justine and Nick. After all (spoiler alert) Romeo and Juliet does not end with a happily ever after. You’ll have to read it to find out what happens, of course, but I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for an original and quirky novel. And if, like me, you are sceptical of astrology, never fear – it’s a theme throughout, and yet it’s approached from all angles – the believers, the sceptics, and everyone in between.
Star Crossed was published on 4 April by Bantam Press. Many thanks to Hannah Bright for the gorgeous early review copy, and for the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
And can we just take a moment to enjoy this lovely animated blog tour schedule?!