Hi friends! Today I’m here to scream about a new f/f rom-com that I’m utterly obsessed with. It’s been out for a couple of weeks now, and you definitely need to get your hands on it if you haven’t already. Before I get to my review, read on for a bit about the book.
AUTHOR: Alexandria Bellefleur
GENRE: Contemporary romance
RELEASE: November 10, 2020
LINKS: Goodreads | Bookshop.org | Book Depository
SYNOPSIS: “With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice, a charming #OwnVoices queer rom-com debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!
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?”
When Elle’s new friend and business partner sets her up on a blind date with his sister, she should have known it would be disastrous. Elle is a whimsical, free-spirited social media astrologer, while Darcy is a guarded, logical actuary. While the date is a hot mess, Darcy and Elle agree to fake-date. It’s a win-win situation: Elle’s family will see that she’s settling down and finally take her seriously, and Darcy’s brother will get off her case about finding a relationship. Their arrangement is set to last until New Year’s Eve, and the number one objective is to avoid falling for each other. But can you really avoid something that’s written in the stars?
With a touch of Pride & Prejudice vibes, Written in the Stars is an adorable contemporary queer romance novel. Alexandria Bellefleur perfectly employs the fake-dating and opposites-attract tropes, while still giving us a fresh, can’t-put-down rom-com. Elle and Darcy don’t hit it off so well at their blind date, but keeping up the ruse of their relationship repeatedly forces them to spend time together. I loved watching the chemistry between these two polar opposites, and it was so fun to see them both struggle to deny the attraction.
But underneath the hilarity of fake-dating, this book also tackles some big issues. Elle has been working tirelessly to build up her social media astrology brand, and is on the brink of signing a huge deal with a dating app (owned by Darcy’s brother). Elle’s family doesn’t see her business as a real career, and she struggles with getting them to take her seriously. Meanwhile, Darcy is still recovering from a serious relationship that ended painfully–she has difficulty trusting and isn’t quite ready to let someone in again. And Darcy’s got family troubles of her own, too: she has a strained relationship with her absent mother, and has always put pressure on herself to take care of her younger brother. Alexandria Bellefleur does a superb job of weaving complex themes on family, self, and identity with a light-hearted, sweet romance. Written in the Stars explores trust and vulnerability so beautifully.
Elle and Darcy are two very different but equally compelling protagonists. Elle is fun, free-spirited, and utterly whimsical. She’s forever dreaming of finding her true love, and is incredibly passionate about astrology. I adored her from the very start and totally wanted to be her BFF. Darcy is the total opposite: she’s on the uptight side and is a by-the-book actuary. But on the inside, Darcy is a total softie who’s been hurt. Written in the Stars has a fleshed-out, three-dimensional cast of supporting characters, including Elle’s roommate & business partner Margot, Darcy’s best friend, and their respective families (especially Darcy’s brother Brendon). I love that this novel portrays women having meaningful platonic relationships!
In terms of diversity, Elle is bisexual, Darcy is a lesbian, and Elle’s roommate & business partner Margot is pansexual. As a queer woman, I enjoyed these characters and felt that the representation was authentic–and it’s always wonderful to read a book about queer women simply existing. I love that the ‘problem’ of the book wasn’t rooted in their queerness, and the novel wasn’t focused on coming out. The main characters were all white, and while I overall loved this sweet romance, it would have been nice to see more BIPOC characters.
I loved Bellefleur’s writing and am definitely counting Written in the Stars as one of my new favorite romances. The pacing was spot-on, and the chemistry and tension between the two protagonists was palpable. Once I picked this one up, I couldn’t put it down because I just needed to see Darcy and Elle admit their feelings for each other. The Seattle setting and the timing (set around Christmas and New Year’s) made this contemporary feel so atmospheric and cozy. Written in the Stars is cute and sweet, but it’s also full of steam! And while there’s a wealth of fake-dating stories out there right now, Alexandria Bellefleur definitely brought a new, fresh spin to this trope.
Written in the Stars is an utterly adorable, heart-warming contemporary queer romance that had me swooning from start to finish. Romance readers who enjoy the fake-dating or opposites-attract tropes will love this one, as well as fans of Pride & Prejudice. I’ll also be recommending this one to fans of Casey McQuiston and Meryl Wilsner. Alexandria Bellefleur has definitely become an auto-read author for me and I have a feeling I’ll adore her next book–it’s practically written in the stars.
Alexandria Bellefleur is an author of swoony contemporary romance often featuring loveable grumps and the sunshine characters who bring them to their knees. A Pacific Northwesterner at heart, Alexandria has a weakness for good coffee, Pike IPA, and Voodoo Doughnuts. Her special skills include finding the best Pad Thai in every city she visits, remembering faces but not names, falling asleep in movie theaters, and keeping cool while reading smutty books in public. She was a 2018 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist.
KEEP UP WITH ALEXANDRIA: Website | Twitter | Instagram
Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books for the digital review copy!