Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, it doesn’t mean that readers have to stop craving the perfect romantic read. Love is an emotion that can — and in my opinion, should — be celebrated all year round. And whether you’re already in love or you’re single and spend your days daydreaming about meeting your soulmate, “Written in the Stars” is the perfect novel to pick up if you’re craving a sweet, sapphic romance.
Alexandria Bellefleur’s newest release, “Written in the Stars,” is a dual point-of-view novel that follows two women: Elle and Darcy. Elle is an astrologer who runs a popular Twitter account called Oh My Stars. She’s also a hopeless romantic. Once Elle tells her new business partner, Brendon, that she’s bisexual, he sets Elle up on a blind date with his sister, Darcy.
Darcy is the polar opposite of Elle. She’s a punctual, straightforward, analytical skeptic who doesn’t believe in soulmates or true love. She also most certainly doesn’t have any faith in astrology or that stars determine your personality. Their first date is a disaster, and to keep her brother from setting her up on more disastrous meetings with random women, Darcy lies to him and says that the night with Elle was amazing.
In classic rom-com fashion, Brendon relays Darcy’s words to Elle. Once Elle finds out why Darcy lied to her brother, the two hatch a plan to fake a relationship over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The phony relationship ends on New Year’s Eve, and both women promise themselves that they will not catch real feelings for each other. Unfortunately for them, rom-coms are never that simple.
A romance novel is only as good as the chemistry between its two main characters. If readers aren’t rooting for the love interests to end up together, then the moments between the pair aren’t as sweet and endearing as they’re meant to be. Luckily, some of the best parts of “Written in the Stars” are the characters and the chemistry between them.
Elle and Darcy are both likable in their own right. Elle is extremely optimistic and upbeat. She believes in astrology and she uses it as a tool to be more compassionate and understanding toward other people. She is funny, messy and just trying to find her way in the world, even if her family doesn’t approve of her unconventional career path. Even if readers don’t believe in astrology like Elle does, her character is relatable to every 20-something who is trying to figure out how to adjust to adulthood.
Darcy, on the other hand, is practical and a realist. She doesn’t swear by astrology, so she’s a great character for readers who don’t believe in it either. Throughout the novel, she remains true to herself while learning how to open up and be vulnerable. Darcy also slowly falls for Elle and learns to appreciate her interests, like astrology. In Darcy’s mind, astrology might not determine a couple’s compatibility, but it is a way to peer into Elle’s soul.
On their own, the characters of Darcy and Elle are well-written and fleshed out. They each have flaws, jobs, passions, family issues and friends that they go to for advice. “Written in the Stars” is a romance first, but it also acknowledges that people who are entering a budding romance still have other things going on in their lives. It creates well-rounded and likable characters who have a life outside of their “fake” relationship.
Darcy and Elle both have lives outside of each other, which makes the scenes between both of them even more enchanting and charming. In the first chapter, where they meet up on a blind date, everything goes wrong. There’s an undeniable spark between them, but Elle wants a serious relationship while Darcy is afraid of having her heart broken and therefore just wants to have fun.
The two seem incompatible, and to top it all off, Elle spills a $56 glass of wine all over Darcy’s beautiful green dress. When Elle goes to check on Darcy in the bathroom, she overhears Darcy talking on the phone about how much of a mess Elle was. Elle runs out of the restaurant and never intends on speaking to Darcy again. Even though the date is a disaster, that spark pulls them together throughout the course of their fake relationship, even if that pretend romance has increasingly realistic feelings.
This chemistry is what makes the fake dating and enemies-to-lovers tropes that Bellefleur incorporates into “Written in the Stars” work so well. Every scene in the novel is just as well-written as Elle and Darcy’s first date. The two meet each other’s family members at Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, they go on a forced double date to an escape room and they have intimate moments where they get to know each other better.
The way Bellefleur skillfully fleshed out Elle and Darcy’s relationship cannot be overstated enough. The writing itself is fantastic, the setting of Seattle sets a cozy tone and the holiday romance adds a nice ambiance to “Written in the Stars.” However, at the end of the day, the delicate, delightfully written relationship that Darcy and Elle form is truly the heart and soul of the novel.
Whether you’re new to the romance genre or an avid reader, “Written in the Stars” is worth a shot. The main characters are endearing and realistic, and the relationship is sure to be one of the cutest ones you’ve ever read about. Plus, both of the main characters are sapphic, and that’s always a good reason to pick up a novel.