This book was pulled by the authors for editing. We will relist it when it is again available.
Star Crossed, the fourth volume in Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner’s Fly Me To the Moon series, is the the well-told and quite lovely tale, set in the early 1960s, of a mathematician and an would-be astronaut whose tutoring sessions end up turning into a love story.
Geraldine “Geri” Brixton was born daring. A member of the air show circuit since, as a child, she watched her parents’ fly the friendly skies, her own high-flying maneuvers in the cockpit have brought her to NASA’s attention. As a hopeful for the Virgo Three trip, Geri must maneuver everything from awkward uniforms to inter-office politics. But one unfortunate problem – her inability to parse even the most basic of calculations – might keep Geri on the ground.
Enter Beverly Fox, mathematician extraordinaire, who spends her days cooking up the formulas that keep America’s space program afloat. Beverly yearns for two things: a deep, true love to shake up her quiet and work-heavy life, and to see a woman launched into space. Clinging to the latter hope makes her volunteer to be Geri’s tutor. Though the women get off to a rough start, Bev and Geri soon find themselves forming an alliance made out of grit, attraction and admiration. Each woman brings out long-buried and ignored desire in the other, but just as those feelings start to flower, a multitude of complications crash down on them both and tear them apart. Will Geri and Bev reunite in a better place or are their paths forever destined to be separate ones?
There’s something incredibly beautiful about Star Crossed as a love story and as a tribute to the women who battled all odds to launch man into space. Barry and Turner make you wish NASA was as with it in real life as they are in the book (after all, Russia launched Valentina Tereshkova into space at roughly the time at which this novel is set, but it would take another twenty years for America to put Sally Ride on a shuttle); they get everything right about the fumbling forms of sexism, malignant and well-meaning alike, that Geri and Bev encounter as they try to go about their business. The authors don’t shy away from displays of period-typical homophobia, rounding their love story out with shocks of dread, desperation and hope. The longing between the women – to have each other and to have license to be free to express those feelings – is beautifully rendered, the prose nearly aching with need that finally blossoms to fruition. The love scenes pack a hell of a wallop when they happen for a reason.
Geri and Bev are fun characters; they feel like lively women who might have been of that particular time period. All of the secondary characters breathe; there honestly isn’t a boring one in the bunch, from Bev’s friend Dot all the way to Kitt Campbell, a boozing astronaut. The flying scenes are breathtaking and ooze urgent energy.
There’s only one big problem, and that’s the fact that the authors choose to have three third-act complications beset the women all at once. Each idea is a worthwhile one, but three is a bit of overkill, and it means that conflict resolution must happen with such rapidity that there’s no time to linger over each victory before we’re rushing off to the next twist. Thankfully the make-up scene between the women is given enough space and time.
That’s not enough to dint Star Crossed’s grade in a significant way. It’s a lovely, lively, beautiful story that’s a wonderful ride.