The last time I plucked one of Ali Harris's books off my bookshelf, it was The First Last Kiss, which turned out to be a poignant tearjerker in chicklit's clothing. Her latest offering, Written In The Stars, again looks like classic chicklit but would it be a lighter and frothier read than last time?
Well, yes and no ! Bea Bishop, the central character, is almost phobic when it comes to making decisions. As she's walking down the aisle about to marry her fiancé, her eyes wander across the faces in the pews and land on that of her one-that-got-away, the ex that promised to come back to her and never did, leaving her broken-hearted and needing closure. Bea is torn between the two but, before she can even try to come to a decision about her next move, she trips and bangs her head so hard that she blacks out.
If you haven't read the blurb on the back of the book (as I hadn't, because I always want to avoid the spoilers), it will get a bit confusing at this point until you work out what's going on ! In a plot twist that reminded me of Sliding Doors (which the author gives a nod to in her acknowledgements at the end of the book), Bea's two possible futures start to play out. In one, she ditches her husband-to-be and follows her pounding heart to try again with her ex. In the other, she ignores this ghost from the past and the marriage goes ahead as planned. But would her decision have made any difference anyway? Although, in the short term, her paths are diametrically opposed, a series of coincidences (or fate or divine intervention or call it what you will) manage to bring Bea back to the life she is supposed to have - rather like the Final Destination films, where people manage to escape death, only to meet another untimely end in its place. You can't cheat death and you can't cheat your destiny either, if it's written in the stars.
It's a cleverly constructed plot that must have been highly complicated to put together but that works really well. I was a bit disappointed that the opening chapter is a "flash forward" to the final chapter and gives a very big hint as to what the final outcome will be. It was still an enjoyable read though, by turns poignant and heartwarming. Definitely one to pack in your suitcase for reading by the pool this summer !
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £7.99
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (5 Jun 2014)
- Language: Unknown
- ISBN-10: 1471125521
- ISBN-13: 978-1471125522
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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