Author: Minnie Darke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Who should read this book: Fans of romantic comedy, fans of astrology, fans of theories like the butterfly effect
I really liked this book. It was so cute. It is definitely not a genre I normally read but I was sent this book as an early copy from Penguin Random Canada so obviously I would give it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised. This book releases in Canada on May 21!
Plot: 2 points. The story centres around Justine and Nick, the Star-Crossed lovers. It becomes clear very quickly that Justine is in love with Nick and he is oblivious to that fact. After a chance meeting, Justine finds out that Nick likes to follow to the letter the advice of Leo Thornbury, the astrologer for the Alexandria Park Star, the magazine Justine happens to work for. Arguably through fate, Justine is appointed the new Contributions Manager for the magazine and becomes responsible for putting the monthly horoscopes from Leo Thornbury into the magazine. Well she uses this new position to try and convince Nick that he should follow his dreams, and realize that his neighbour and childhood friend is the girl for him, by catering his monthly Aquarius horoscope to try and tell him this.
Unfortunately for Justine, you can’t mess with fate. Her false horoscopes put all the other avid Aquarius readers of the magazine on completely different paths. Causing a butterfly effect to ripple through the town. The author creates a delicate web of interconnectivity, showing us quite clearly that we are all connected and what we do effects everyone. By the end of the story, the web tightens and the effects of the false horoscopes come full circle and we see how everyone, including a stray dog, is connected.
Writing: 2 points. Minnie Darke is a master of character development. Justine especially, although she kept making decisions that frustrated me, I was rooting for her the whole time. Also she has a habit of correcting spelling and grammar errors on market signs and restaurant menus that I found particularly endearing. There are many sub-characters in this story and despite the fact that there presence is usually quite brief in the plot, Darke still managed to get me interested in their lives with a few short paragraphs. And when they were mentioned again later in the book, I was happy to know what had happened to them. I think this is a credit to Darke, because I often get annoyed with sub-characters. Like I don’t care about you get on with the story. But I knew that all these sub-characters were effected by the actions of the main character and that eventually they would have a hand in how the story ended. So I cared about them.
The astrology factor of the story isn’t too detailed to be confusing to someone like me who really knows nothing about it, but also detailed enough to be interesting. I think if you are someone like me that occasionally likes to read a horoscope for fun and think about what it means, you would enjoy this book. I think if you were someone that takes astrology more seriously, you would enjoy this book too, but may be a little more frustrated with Justine for messing with the horoscopes.
Hook: 2 points. Minnie Darke quickly builds her characters, so quickly that I instantly became involved. I wanted to know exactly what was going to happen to Justine after the first mischievous act of crossing out the D on a sign that mistakenly said ADVOCADOS in the market. I instantly liked her for this quirk. And when she changed the first horoscope, and she had an inner monologue like ‘what the heck are we doing?”. I was laughing. When the effects of her first month’s astrological interference ripple through the town, I was excited. And when Nick interprets the horoscope to mean exactly the opposite of what Justine was going for, I felt her frustration. I flew through this book.
Feel: 1 point. This is where Minnie Darke lost me a little. Mishap after mishap I was getting frustrated, the more oblivious Nick got the more frustrated I became. I think the book was a little too long. I wanted things to resolve and they just kept getting worse. The ending had me crying happy tears but it took too long to get there.
Romance: 2 points. This is a great love story. It’s extremely well written and you can feel the love in all the characters. You can feel everything in all the characters actually. Minnie Darke is very good at writing emotions in my opinion.
If you’re looking for a light romance to throw into the mix of all the thrillers and sad historical fiction like me, this is the book for you!