Friday, October 23, 2015
Review: Star Dust by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner
Anne-Marie Smith wanted normal: a loving husband, two beautiful kids, and a well-kept house. But when she catches her husband cheating, she decides that normal isn’t worth it. Now in a new city with a new job, she’s trying to find her new normal—but she knows it doesn’t include the sexy playboy astronaut next door.
Commander Kit Campbell has a taste for fast: fast cars, fast planes, and even faster women. But no ride he’s ever taken will be as fast as the one he’s taking into orbit. He’s willing to put up with the prying adoration of an entire country if it will get him into space.
But Anne-Marie and Kit’s inconvenient attraction threatens both normal and fast. As the space race heats up, his ambitions and their connection collide and combustion threatens their plans… and their hearts. ~ Goodreads
I was looking for a romance that was fun, a little off beat and not super explicit. I stumbled on to Emma Barry’s twitter feed and her description of her new release, Star Dust, (co authored by Barry and Genevieve Turner) and it seemed to fit the bill.
What a pleasant surprise this book was!
I had known it was about a divorcee and a playboy astronaut, but I didn’t realize that it took place in Houston, 1962. The authors did an incredible job plunging me into that era with subtle details such as home décor, food and drink choices and societal attitudes (which were pretty awful towards women – especially divorced women like our heroine, Ann Marie).
Ann Marie has made the bold choice to divorce her cheating husband and move with her children to a new community in Houston. People are not kind to her, even though she has it better than most. Her family has money and is able to buy her the house and get her a job but that can’t stop the judgment she feels from everyone around her. Most people have the attitude that Hey – men cheat, or what did SHE do to make him cheat, or Stay away! I might catch divorce cooties!
"Can you even imagine what she must be like?" Carruthers said. "A woman who'd actually leave a man? Or who was so shrewish that he left her?"
Because of the constant judgment and her desire to make it completely on her own, without the help of a man, she isn’t the nicest after meeting her new neighbor – famous astronaut - Commander Kit Campbell. Not that that deters him much. *wink* He may be a playboy but he falls hard for Ann Marie and her kids.
Listen…I love my sexy times (& this book does have them!) but it was so nice to read about a couple where the sexual tension is ratcheted up to a point that the actual sex wasn’t as important. Smoking cigarettes together while staring at the stars, sharing their deepest hopes and fears, being turned on by freckles or a bare chest…it just had this awesome, sexy vibe and build up that I feel is missing from a lot of romances these days.
There isn’t a whole lot of conflict or drama between the two – other than deciding to take the plunge in the first place. But I enjoyed reading about the everyday issues they need to work through, rather than manufactured conflict. Kit is an astronaut – going into space has been his dream since he was a child but it brings hero worship, gossip and prying eyes into his life on a daily basis. Not something the newly divorced Ann Marie or her children need right now. And it’s a dangerous job. Does Ann Marie even want to be part of that?
There are several really cool space mission training and flying scenes and that made me happy. It wasn’t just about the romance and Kit didn’t just all of a sudden forget everything he worked so hard for because he fell for Ann Marie. But I think my favorite thing about Star Dust was the friendships between Ann Marie and the astronauts wives. It helped soften her heart and realize that she can make friends and accept help without it meaning she failed.
Pour yourself a cocktail – maybe break out the 60’s Jell-O mold and give this little gem of a book a try! I feel like it would make a great romance book club selection as well. Lots of things to discuss!