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?
Written in the Stars is one of my favorite F/F romances. Like the blurb says, it has nods to Pride and Prejudice in our the protagonists’ namesakes, their family structure, and most importantly, their relationship dynamic. I will always have a soft spot for anything Pride and Prejudice inspired because it was the first book after elementary school that made me fall in love with reading in AP English.
Elle, a passionate and free-spirited woman who runs an astrology Twitter account called Oh My Stars, is set up on a first date with Darcy, a more serious, cold-seeming actuary by Darcy’s well-meaning older brother Brendon. This date goes comically horribly, with Darcy coming off as way too analytical, rigid, and cold for Elle’s taste, and ending with a glass of spilled wine and some tears. Somehow they end up in a fake dating situation when Darcy blurts out on impulse that she and Elle are together in order to stop him setting her up on dates any longer, and, of course, they fall for each other.
The release date of Written in the Stars was marketing genius because even though it is not directly marketed as such, this book is through and through a holiday romance. We all know that this year, we could use any ounce of holiday spirit that we can muster. More importantly, we can use the connection and love from people we trust and care about. This setting is particularly important because the holidays, while entirely joyous for some, can bring complex emotions for others, particularly surrounding family.
In any fake dating romance, there is a fun element of attempting to learn about the other person in a very condensed period of time. This is one area where the differences between Darcy’s more structured, no-nonsense personality and Elle’s go-with-the-flow personality are emphasized. For one of their dates, Darcy helps Elle survive a family holiday gathering. Elle’s family has some similarities and some differences compared to the Bennetts in Pride and Prejudice, and one similarity is that they are both up against pressure to marry and appear as though she exists in a heteronormative nuclear family. In the case of Elizabeth Bennett, the pressure was mores from society, but Elle’s family is the main source of her stress. They place high value on appearances and seeming like the perfect cookie-cutter family. There are some homophobic beliefs that they verbalize or imply at various points and my blood boiled for Elle. It was such a relief to see Darcy truly supporting her through this and that made me root for them hard.
As well, Elle’s family doesn’t value her job because of their prejudice towards both social media and astrology. They, like many others, associate with a younger community and with a female-dominant community, which is true in some regards. However, the issue is not the population groups themselves but the judgment towards them and the belief that jobs or hobbies that are dominated by younger women are inferior. People tend to not take these young women seriously which infuriates Elle because these beliefs are being repeated and enforced in her family.
This affects her relationship with Darcy because, like Elle’s family, holds some of these thoughts about her job and passion for astrology, but she is open and willing to learn through her developing love for Elle and it was clear that by the end of their story that her attitude and mindset had changed and she had worked through some of her own internalized misogyny. Darcy also has her own history, which includes extreme hurt and immediately putting her guard up following an awful breakup, after which she moved to Seattle, where the story takes place. Parts of her trauma from this relationship bleed into her relationship with Elle, especially towards the beginning, and this hinders her from truly getting to know her.
Written in the Stars, of course, is not just thoughtful and reflective, but also beautiful and fun. My favorite scene takes place at a planetarium and Alexandria Bellefleur’s writing really shines, from the tension to the depth of feelings. There is something romantically iconic about planetarium and stargazing scenes in contemporary romance, commenting on the scope and depth of the stars and space, and the vastness of the night sky. Alexandria Bellefleur pulls on the twee quality of this setting while not making light or irony of the situation, much like her mindset towards Elle’s involvement with astrology. Instead, this is truly one of my favorite scenes in the book and maybe even one of my favorite scenes I’ve read in my recent memory.
MY CONCLUSION: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Like Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennett, Darcy and Elle will become a couple that you want to root for and stay together forever. If you are looking for a fun, flirty, F/F holiday romance and are a fan of Pride and Prejudice, I would highly recommend Written in the Stars, and for added fun, I buddy read this with my friend Madalyn and we equally adored it!
Is this book for you?
Premise in a sentence: In the spirit of Pride and Prejudice, this F/F #ownvoices romance features Elle, a free-spirited astrologer, and Darcy, a cold-seeming actuary, who end up in a fake dating relationship and start to fall for each other despite having a comically disastrous first date.
Genre: Adult contemporary romance
Trigger/content warning: Misogyny including some internalized, some family trauma, attachment trauma, homophobia (framed in a negative light)