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Title: The Stars That Guide You Home
Author: Jemma Robinson
Published: 27th of January 2021 – Partnership Publishing
Format: Digital – 492 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Today’s post, instead of my usual Friday Down the TBR Hole post, is a review for an author request I accepted a while ago and that had me very intrigued. I love historical fiction but haven’t read much historical romance, so when Jemma reached out to me with the blurb of her book, I couldn’t say no and I’m glad I decided to pick it up!
Thank you so much to the author for reaching out to me and for sending me a free copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Sophia had her life planned out in the Capital. She could have had it all; the finest made ballgowns, diamonds and a King. But Sophia wanted to chase her own fate, fearlessly running away to the woods of Lowshore where she found Tom, the Woodcutter. Sophia traded in royalty and jewels for her very own diamond in the rough…or so she thought …
“We never let our pasts define us. I never told him of mine, as I never wanted to. And yet now, I wished that I had. Because I knew he could have kept me safe. And maybe this would have never happened.”
The Stars That Guide You Home by Jemma Robinson is an adult historical romance in which we have three points of view, that of Sophia our main character, Tom her husband and James her doctor.
The first thing I have to say about this book is please make sure you check the trigger warnings down below before you pick this one up as it is quite graphic, violent and has lots of potential triggers. I did my best to name them all and I hope I haven’t forgotten any. This is definitely not a book if you are sensitive to these topics, so please keep that in mind before picking this one up.
This book is set in what I can only suppose is a fantasy realm since we don’t really get to know much about the actual place. We hear of some different town names, and of course, there is Lowshore and the Capital, but we are never really told much about the setting which I found was a bit of a shame because I really liked what we did get to know about Lowshore.
The only parts of the Capital we see are inside the castle, and mostly inside Sophia’s room which really gives the whole “trapped” plotline a bigger importance. Even though her rooms and the castle itself is opulent and described beautifully (although very rarely), it puts into stark contrast the events happening directly to the characters and the cruelty of some. This definitely makes me think of the “behind closed doors” expression.
I would have however enjoyed more description of the castle and of other places we get to see because I did struggle a little bit to picture the various settings.
I think you could say that this book is a lot more character-driven, which is maybe one of the reasons why I needed more plotting and setting. There weren’t that many characters but we did get to see a lot of them.
Sophia is the main character of this book and I’m not really sure whether I liked her or not. I definitely felt for her and this book made me tear up a couple of times, but she often felt a little flat. She fights for all she is worth, but I had a hard time just because it felt like she spent the majority of the book crying. With everything that she goes through, I can understand it, but I also think I would have wanted more from her in some way.
Tom was the character that I liked the most I think and he came across as a lot more believable than the other characters in my opinion. I also really liked Annalise, and James, although I wanted more from both of these characters as well. I can’t say much about the characters because I think it would spoil a lot of the book, but I despised Edmund from the minute he appeared.
Again, this book has a lot of things going on, but I won’t mention them all individually because I think it’s better to go in fairly blind (as long as you have checked the trigger warnings) and I don’t want to spoil you.
What I can say is that this book is a lot darker than what I was expecting and what I had anticipated from the blurb which doesn’t give much away. I kind of guessed how the book was going to go once I had met all the characters and found out what was happening, but some things still took me by surprise, especially some of the very graphic and violent scenes.
This book is about loving someone, having a happy life and having that ripped from you, being forced into a situation that you do not want and being powerless to change. I think the author did a good job of making these events real, and I did get tearful a few times because of what was happening.
It was interesting to see how characters dealt with events and circumstances, learning about their pasts as much as was possible (we didn’t learn as much as I would have wanted) and seeing how things played out. I think that all the “good” characters were very resilient and showed just how strong and determined one can be when your life and the lives of your loved ones are at stake.
Trigger Warnings: kidnap, medieval torture including cutting out someone’s tongue, burns, rape, physical and mental abuse both mentioned and on-page, graphic injuries, being trapped, childbirth, death, suicide, mention of miscarriage, tyranny, threats and graphic violence.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this was an interesting book with a heart-breaking story at the centre and the portrayal of characters in terrifying and dangerous situations, how they survive and the methods they go to in order to protect those they love.
This is definitely not my usual read, but I did enjoy it. However, I do wish that there were more descriptions and information about the setting but also more backstory as I feel like we never fully get insight into each character. I also would have liked a bit more showing instead of telling and I thought that maybe this book was a little bit long for what happens, as it mostly just goes back and forth. I think this is a case of me not being the perfect reader for this book because I can see a lot of people really enjoying it, and I definitely did enjoy it, just not as much as I had hoped.
I think the author had a really nice writing style and the pace flowed well, which both helped to keep me reading while some events were a tad boring or even quite shocking. I would have happily read more about this world since the author has a really nice and fluid style.
I gave this book 3.5 stars (full ASPECTS rating below). I have to stress that if you like the sound of this book, please check the trigger warnings because some scenes are very graphic, violent and triggering. If you like stories with royalty, a “forbidden love”, resilient characters and love guiding them, then this is the book for you!
Thank you once again to Jemma for letting me read this book, it was a nice reading experience.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – JEMMA ROBINSON
“Writer of my daydreams. True believer in the power of the Universe and the power of words to make you feel, believe and hope.
In my spare time I enjoy reading, watching epic TV series’ and helping out at my local animal shelter.
My debut Historical Romance novel ‘The Stars That Guide You Home’ will be released in early 2021.”
Atmosphere – 5
Start – 5
Pacing – 6
Ending – 7
Characters – 6
Theme – 6
Style – 7
Total = 42
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