Star Crossed by Minnie Darke – review

Published by Bantam

Publication date – 4 April 2019

Source – review copy

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?

When Justine Carmichael runs into old friend Nick Jordan, she is reminded of her feelings for him from many years ago. When she realises that Nick relies on the astrology column from the magazine she work’s for, Justine thinks that slightly altering Nick’s star sign could be the way to make him realise she’s the one for him. It seemed like a fool-proof plan. Nothing could go wrong, could it?

I’ll start by saying I’m not that au fait with astrology. I’m a Capricorn. I know this is symbolised by a goat. The only thing I know is that goats like to climb things and eat a lot. I like climbing into bed and eating my own body weight in chocolate so I guess there are similarities. As for any supposed traits of Capricorn I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. And rising signs are a mystery to me.

So why did I read a book that has star signs dotted throughout it? Because it sounded fun. And it was. The book is filled with a variety of characters, from curmudgeonly Len to the charming, and slightly egotistical Daniel. Then there’s Brown Houdini-Malarkey who reminded me of Slinky Malinky, every time I read about him. Nick is a quiet character, keen to pursue his acting career but torn between his dreams and his girlfriend Laura, who is keen for Nick to give up on the flight of fancy that is acting. His reliance on the horoscopes is perhaps incongruous with his somewhat pragmatic and laid back character.

There are lots of references to astrology, star signs and rising signs. If I’m honest I didn’t really get all the references. I’ve no idea if  Leo with Gemini rising is supposed to be scruffy, or impulsive or have any particular traits. I just let those parts of the story wash over me. It did strike me as slightly unlikely that every character apart from Justine was so into their star signs and knew all about them.

Justine has a penchant for vintage clothing and an obsession with correcting grammatical errors. Even if that means stealthy spelling corrections and writing on shop windows correcting errant commas. That part of her I can relate to, though I’ve not gone as far as scrawling editorial notes on menus. Her actions are impulsive, and what starts as one slightly altered horoscope soon becomes almost a habit. There were aspects of this that were slightly unsavoury, her actions could have been considered selfish. Especially when she discovers Nick has a girlfriend. Things never go to plan and she digs herself a little deeper into the hole she made for herself when she changed the first reading for Aquarius.

I really enjoyed the cusp stories. Little vignettes that ran throughout the tale, we saw how Justine’s meddling had an effect on more than just Nick. There were romances, affairs, broken hearts and escapes, the actions of one person having a domino effect on many more.

Ultimately, the story shows that even if things are written in the stars, instinct, luck and happenstance, as well as intention and drive, all have an effect on our lives.

A fun, enjoyable read.

About the author

Minnie Darke – Gemini with Virgo Rising, Scrabble cutthroat and knitter, lover of books, freshly sharpened pencils and Russian Caravan tea – divides her time between her kitchen table and a rather cute writing studio in the backyard of her home in Hobart, Tasmania.

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