If you are a fan of slow burn, rock-and-roll romances in stand alone contemporary books, and also happen to be a big music aficionado, I cannot recommend “The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes” enough. We follow our FMC as she navigates the recording world, having finally left her middle of nowhere town and gotten away from her less than stellar home life, all after being abandoned by the boy who swore they’d escape together and make a name for themselves together. Toni is an incredible guitarist, but in a world that’s still very much sexist (and racist though the author focuses more on the sexist aspects) Toni, who prefers to work behind the scenes, is constantly passed up for her less talented, male counterparts. It’s after one such encounter where the boy who broke her teenage heart comes back unexpectedly into her life. What follows after that meeting is a sweet, sort of second chance romance that really dives deep into the characters, their emotions, and growth from who they were as teenagers, to who they are when the book starts, and beyond. It’s a well written character driven romance, even if the book does feel its length at times.
I am a big fan of character driven stories, so this really hit the spot for me. I loved getting the deep dive and intimate, emotional view points of both Toni and Seb. I highly enjoyed seeing the industry through their eyes and how different it was for each of them. I really enjoyed getting a look at their past, and how it led them to the places they occupy by the time they reconnect. I know those slow burn, character driven stories aren’t for everyone, but if you have the time, this is a great book to invest in! Plus, I am a big music fan, and Toni’s musical tastes closely align with my own, so bonus points were given there!
I will say the events of the story that are highlighted in the synopsis don’t actually come to fruition until about 35% into the book, so sometimes the novel does feel its length; the tension of “what’s going to happen” not truly present because the synopsis gives it away even if the book itself takes its time getting there. But the characters are all so rich and diverse (and apparently really hot) that I personally didn’t mind the slowish and steady pacing of the book as it details Toni’s involvement with the Lillys, especially since, as a romance, so you know you’ll get that HEA ending. The reader is given a very full picture of our main characters, their troubled families, and their—sometimes—tumultuous dealings with the band members, which I think really helps to sell who they are as people and explains why they act the way they do, but, again, does make the book longer than more “traditional” romances. Which I loved (hence why I’m giving it 5 stars) but it isn’t for everyone, so just know that ahead of picking this book up. But I loved Axelrod’s writing style so I’ll definitely be checking out more of her books in the future!
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