Hi everyone! I’m currently participating in Sapphic Saturdays‘ 12 Days of Queermas Readathon and having so much fun so far! One of the first books I read for it was one of my most anticipated books of the year – Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur – and since I know a lot of people either love it or are interested in reading it, that I’d write a little review on it!
Title: Written in the Stars
Author: Alexandria Bellefleur
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Adult
Synopsis: After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.
Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.
When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.
But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?
Over the past year I have become a sucker for sapphic adult romances and as soon as I saw the cover of this one (as with any sapphic book featuring two women embracing on the cover), I knew I needed to know more about it. Finding out that it was a Pride and Prejudice retelling with a main character who is super involved in astrology completely sealed the deal for me and, of course, I pre-ordered it straight away. After seeing so many amazing reviews for it recently, I figured the perfect time to pick it up would be around the time of year it’s set – Halloween to New Year – and I definitely was not disappointed!
Written in the Stars follows Elle who, alongside her college best friend slash roommate, runs a successful astrology social media account that has recently branched into a partnership with OTP – a flourishing new dating app. However, the owner of OTP has decided to set Elle up on a blind date with his sister – Darcy, a no nonsense actuary that definitely does not believe in astrology – but things don’t exactly go to plan. The date ends with Darcy covered in two glasses of overly-expensive wine and Elle rushing home without even saying goodbye. Darcy is sick of her brother’s attempts to set her up, so she lies to him and tells him that their date went really well, but in order to really sell it she needs Elle to agree to fake date her until December 31st, when they can ‘break off’ their fake relationship. That is until feelings start taking hold.
When a book opens with a joke about chafing, you know it’s going to be a good one! Alexandria Bellefleur’s writing feels like a warm hug from an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time – you just want to stay there for a little while and bask in it all – but it is also charming and hilarious at the same time. I don’t think I’ve read a fake-dating plot before reading this book (but I can tell you, even since reading this a day ago I’ve already read another and have more on the way), but I really enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed how the character development, family relationships and the rest of the plot developed as a result of it. As for the Pride and Prejudice retelling aspect – I loved it! I grew up watching both the 1995 and the 2005 adaptations and although I’ve only read Jane Austen’s book once, it’s clear to see the parallels in Written in the Stars, not only regarding the main characters’ names. I think it was a really fun angle to take and it definitely paid off! The book did follow the standard romance plotline, aka about 75% of the way through the two main characters have some sort of conflict before it’s all wrapped up at the end of the book, but I think it worked a lot better and felt a lot more natural than a lot of other romance novels I’ve read recently.
The book is told from the perspectives of both Elle and Darcy, interchanging just about every chapter. Elle is extremely passionate about astrology and is your classic sunshine character. She believes in true love and is so affectionate, yet is also dealing with the tough expectations of her family and never truly feeling like she is good enough. Darcy is a wealthy actuary who likes to keep to herself and who moved to Seattle not long after breaking off her engagement. Darcy is definitely the ‘grumpy’ one of the pair and often comes off as slightly stuck up, yet we quickly learn that she is extremely hardworking and vocal in the face of injustice. The two of them worked together so well and I really enjoyed the natural progression of their relationship (and the sex scenes!).
I decided to dock half a star off this book for two main reasons, the first being the multiple Harry Potter references throughout. I recognise that for many people this year is the first time they’ve noticed JKR’s racism/transphobia/antisemitism/homophobia, but she has been vocally announcing her bigoted, violent points of view for years at this point that there really isn’t any excuse for referencing her or her work in your books, and not realising this until this year stems from a real place of privilege. Seeing these references in books can be a real kick in the teeth to trans and nonbinary readers, and also those from other minority groups that JKR has hurt in the past. Furthermore, and this is a lot less of a moral reason, I think the book ended too abruptly. I think it definitely would have benefitted from an epilogue of some sort, especially since the book is set around Christmas and New Year, but we never really got to see much of them celebrating either of those holidays – it was the perfect occasion to add in some cute mistletoe kisses or New Year’s countdown kisses, but instead it felt like something was missing.
Overall, this was a really fun book that I think will be a lot of people’s first introduction into adult romance, and I’m really excited about that. The relationship was really sweet and the little astrology memes scattered throughout the book made it a really fun read. I really enjoyed my time reading Written in the Stars and I can’t wait for Alexandria’s next book which will follow Brendon’s story!