I find romances to be fantastic vacation reads, light and fun and easy to jump in and out of as you need. So, I was thrilled when my hold on this final book in the “Written in the Stars” romance series came in the week before I was set to travel for a long weekend. (Here are my reviews for the first two: Written in the Stars and Hang the Moon.) I sped through the first half on the flight and finished up the rest over coffee in the mornings before heading out for sight-seeing (and eating and drinking, of course).
The final installation in this series focuses on Margot, Elle’s best friend and former roomie who, though very excited for the pairing-off of all her friends (Darcy and Elle, Brendon and Annie), is starting to feel a little bit left out, sort of a fifth wheel. When she shows up to tour a potential venue for Brendon and Annie’s wedding, she runs into a very unexpected person: the wedding planner is Olivia Grant, Margot’s childhood best friend, longtime crush, first love all rolled into one. Olivia, excited and nervous at this major opportunity in her career, is *just* as surprised to see Margot for the first time in over a decade. They’ve both lived full lives since then, are coming in with emotional changes, but neither has managed to forget the perfect week they spent together in high school, and those feelings are coming back strong for both as they spend more time together.
As with all the books in this series, when this friend group gets involved, all bets at how supportively nosy they get are off. I honestly love reading about them. I mean, sometimes it walks the line of healthy or not, their emotional codependency, but they’re so lovable and cozy and, at the end of the day, so supportive, that I cannot help but feel safe and at home with them. That’s probably because I know, despite any disagreements and over-involvement they have, that in the end they will both tell the hard truths and support whatever the other(s) decide…and because it’s a romance, it’ll end happily.
“Love isn’t supposed to be quantifiable, relationships held up against one another, pitted against one another. That’s a shitty thing to try to do, like asking someone to compare their love for their mother to their love for their partner or their best friend.”
Other things I loved, in general, included the group text messages with Margot’s family. I wish we had gotten to actually meet them, or at least get a little more on page time with their voices, because they were laugh out loud recognizable (thank goodness airplanes are loud, because I am not joking about laughing out loud), with the two brothers and the spot on sarcasm. Also, Bellefleur again crushes the sex writing. The sex scenes are steamy and fantastic. And as a particular highlight of this book, the way she wrote sensuality and sexual tension into the small things, like eating a piece of cake on a fork or the way a shirt lays over a character’s body, is top notch.
Another thing, and this has gotten better from book to book, in my opinion, I thought the “third act conflict” here was great: realistic and well-handled and not overdramatic. Just a regular fight like anyone would recognize, where things are said that are maybe too aggressive, but not unforgivably hurtful, and both Margot and Olivia are mature enough to want to keep working on it after a little time to cool off/regroup. I so appreciate that, as a contrived situation in this part of the story is really a turn-off for me. Plus, in this case, there was a little tongue-in-cheek disaster humor, the “everything that could go wrong does,” that was a bit humorous, since as a reader we already know it will end happily. And on that note, Bellefluer again delivers on the “sparkles and fairy lights and champagne bubbles” style romance vibes that I have come to expect (and love) from her. When you want that, there are few better.
“Reality was different. Talking, sharing, like so many things, was easier said than done. ‘Look, normally I am totally team talk about it. But it’s so much easier to tell someone to talk than to actually do it. The problem isn’t opening my mouth and saying the words – that’s the easy part. It’s – it’s what comes after. When the words are out there, and I can’t take them back.’”
My final note is a small criticism. And to be honest, there is a chance that I was just reading too fast because these romances are the “speed through the pages” type reads for me, so please bear that in mind. But. I found that I struggled to tell Olivia and Margot apart, perspective-wise. Their holding back communication issues about the relationship were basically the same. (However, let me please note that I appreciated that they recognized when they were falling into the insecurity/miscommunication trope. It makes it easier to handle as the reader. I get that it is hard, for real, but the self-awareness is a real balm for me in dealing with this heavily overused way to create tension). Anyways, I’d have liked more separation of development/voice for our two MCs. Even in their dialogue sometimes, I lost the thread of who was speaking. And though their individual stories (jobs, families, life trajectories, etc.) were well developed, their personalities and mannerisms just seemed too similar.
All to say that, I was super pleased with the closure we got for everyone’s relationships at the end of this final book. I had fun reading this whole series and this was a spectacular overall ending. This is just really high quality fuzzy and comforting reading material.