Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke: Audiobook Review

This book hitting our TBR list felt like fate… and like all good kismet, we found it delightful.

Star-Crossed was written by Minnie Darke and narrated by Melissa George.

This good-hearted novel balances an ode to Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers with an intermingling comedy of errors. The result is a fun story that reminds readers of the magic that connects us all in this life. And it’s the perfect book for anyone who faithfully reads their monthly horoscope and likes witty romantic comedies that end well.

Content & Storytelling

Justine Carmichael is a young, aspiring journalist for Alexandria Park Star, a monthly print magazine with a monthly horoscope written by the one-and-only Leo Thornbury. When she reacquaints with star-guided (specifically Leo-guided) Nick Jordan—the best friend of her childhood and heart-throb of her youth—Justine finds herself suddenly overseeing the horoscopes as published in the Star. Zodiac-skeptic Justine impulsively tweaks Aquarius (Nick’s sun sign) in the months that follow and her amended horoscopes ripple out into the vignettes of ordinary people’s lives interspersed throughout the narrative.

In addition to astrology, myriad Shakespeare references stand out in this novel. An aspiring actor, Nick loyally consults Leo’s advice each month to determine the direction his life should take. As Justine edits Nick’s horoscopes, he plays Romeo in the local production of Shakespeare’s tragedy. To the reader, they seem as star-crossed as Shakespeare’s titular characters, but for wholly different reasons. I wouldn’t say the Shakespearean references make or break this novel, but they are certainly abundant and noteworthy.

Like Shakespeare’s comedies, in which the confusions and mistakes of one individual often impact the lives of otherwise unrelated characters, many seemingly unconnected folks populate the pages of Minnie Darke’s novel. The constellation of lives knit through the Justine-Nick story is diverse and at times seems disjointed, but by the novel’s close, the many characters have woven an amusingly satisfying story that highlights the magic connecting us all.

Length & Pacing

Nick and Justine’s story pulled me in quickly. The stories of the many seemingly unrelated individuals at times felt distracting from the Justine-Nick love story, especially at first. By the novel’s conclusion, however, I appreciated them all as Minnie Darke neatly connected the web of characters and interdependent circumstances.

Writing & Storytelling

Melissa George’s narration seemed perfectly-suited to this book. Minnie Darke’s novel often refers to quintessentially Australian life (think vegemite and club football), and George’s Australian accent made the novel’s Aussie-ness all the more authentic.

Darke’s writing is humorous, detailed, and succinct. I appreciated the snapshots of other lives sprinkled throughout the novel as well as the astrology-inspired writing and organization. Even the slightly annoying inner monologue as dialog (between Justine and Brain) reinforced to me Justine’s immaturity and youth, a detail on which so much of the plot depends.

Overall

As one might expect from a horoscope-driven romantic comedy of novel, Star-Crossed is whimsical, uplifting, and entertaining. It is a purely fun listen with moments that made me laugh out loud, swoon, and bemoan the idiocy of twenty-something love.


Official Description: When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars. 

Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, Star-Crossed is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.

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