Desert Isle Keeper
Written in the Stars
A loose reinterpretation of Pride and Prejudice – the characters are more archetypal than direct representations of Austen’s – Written in the Stars is a fun, light-weight and light-hearted romp through the worlds of two Seattle women who find love together in spite of themselves.
Elle Jones is on a blind date. A blind date set up for her by her friend, Brendon Lowell, who was so eager to get his sister Darcy in on the game he didn’t realize that perhaps it would be a good idea to give Elle a description or a picture of her intended. Darcy turns out to be the woman Elle mistook for a hostess at the bar where they’re meeting, and the rest of the date becomes an awkward nightmare which embarrasses Elle and leaves Darcy swearing she’ll never go on a blind date at her brother’s behest again.
Elle is a bubbly, free-living extrovert of an astrology addict who works at a metaphysical bookshop and runs a popular astrology-centered Twitter account. Actuary Darcy is an extremely ordered introvert devoted to the soap opera Whisper Cove who Just Wants to be Left Alone after a nasty break-up drove her to live in Seattle. Which is why she lies to Brendon that the date went well. Which means Brendon burbles to Elle about how excited he is that Darcy likes Elle and now they can all double date together with him and his husband. Which means Elle has to confront Darcy about her lie. The two agree to fake-date to get out of the situation, as Elle and Brendon are brand-new business partners on top of it all, with Elle providing horoscope-based matchmaking advice and quizzes for his dating ap.
Their limited fake-dating relationship will span the holidays so Elle won’t have to deal with her disapproving family alone, and end on New Year’s Day, but it has its complications. For fake-dating leads to real feelings, and then Darcy and Elle must figure out how to navigate a situation that’s rapidly getting out of control. Is it real love, or is it just impulse?
Sometimes, you just want to read a fun romance novel, and Written in the Stars is that. Gooey with kindness and affable as a puppy, it’s a warm, near-perfect sink into a sweetness and light.
You may have seen these kind of archetypes and this kind of romance before (hint: the grumpy one is soft for the sunshiny one), but you’ve never quite seen it written the way Bellefleur does it. The result is sweet and breezy and generally easy to read (though I hope the book’s point of view shifts – the main reason this doesn’t get a full on A grade – are sorted and before the book is released).
Darcy and Elle are both likable, and their romance is spicy-sweet and wonderful to follow. The Seattle setting is generally credible – but on the other hand it never rains, not once, during the course of the book – odd for one set in the winter within the Pacific Northwest!
There are some fine supporting characters on deck as well – eternal romantic and optimist Brendon, the girl’s incredibly dichotomous parents, and I liked Margot, Elle’s roommate/best friend, who is sardonic where Elle is not.
Overall, the book is a sweet little romantic romp that’s a perfectly cozy holiday season read.