3 August 2014

Book Review: Written in the Stars by Ali Harris

"Bea Bishop is horrible at making decisions. Forget big life ones, even everyday choices seem to paralyse her. She's learned to live with this because experience has taught her that it doesn't matter what you do, no one has the power to control destiny. Anyone who believes they can is a fool. 

But as her wedding day approaches, her years of indecision are weighing heavily on her, and she can't help but wonder, 'What if, what if, what if….' 

What if she hadn't upped sticks and moved to London? What if she hadn't grabbed the first job that came along and settled down with the first guy who showed an interest? But all of her questions are silenced when she slips while walking down the aisle and is knocked unconscious. In this split second her life splits into two: in one existence, Bea flees back down the aisle and out of the church. In the other she glides blissfully towards her intended.

But which story will lead to her happily ever after?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Written in the Stars as a paperback or an eBook now.

Ali Harris has become one of my must-read authors in the past few years thanks to the amazing books that she has released. Yes, there has only been 3 of them but it's enough to have got me hooked on her writing, and I always know I am about to read something special when I pick up one of her books. Her latest book Written in the Stars sounded like it was going to be another brilliant book - something a bit different too. I have to mention as well how much I love the cover. I know they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but I do, I just can't help it. But when a book has a cover as gorgeous as this, I'm sure I can't go wrong!

The book begins on Bea Bishop's wedding day. Bea is sure that getting married is what she wants, despite the fact she knows she is terrible at making decisions. However, if she gets married then she has someone else to rely on to help her make those decisions for the rest of her life. She starts the walk down the aisle... and slips over, knocking herself unconscious. As she comes around, Bea's life is split into two possibilities. One, where she carries on down the ailse and marries the love of her life. The second, however, changes everything. Bea turns around and runs away from her impending nuptials, leaving her groom and family in utter shock, and wondering what to do next. Bea carries on with these two lives, experiencing very different emotions and lifestyles in each. But which life is going to lead to Bea finding the happiness she so deserves?

Now, I'll be honest and say books with a magical twist aren't really my things - I prefer something more realistic, that I can relate to. So when I read the plot of this one, I did look forward to it but hoped that it was done in a really good way that would allow me to enjoy it rather than sit and scoff at how unrealistic it is, as I have to admit I have done in the past! Of course though, I should have put my faith in Ali Harris and her writing, because of course it was brilliantly written, I enjoyed every single page and I even managed to suspend my disbelief for a while and just enjoy the book for what it was. Yes, it isn't something that can ever happen but it didn't seem to matter - all I cared about was finding out which ending Bea would choose and if she's live happily ever after.

I really cared about Bea, both versions of her. I thought I would dislike her when she ran away from her wedding, leaving her poor fiancé Adam behind but I didn't. Instead, I sympathised with how she felt and what she did. There is the reappearance of someone from Bea's past in the book which explains a lot about Bea, and I found this part of the book very sad, something Bea was really struggling to get over and move on from. The Bea who did get married was different in her own way, perhaps struggling too with the confines of marriage and her own expectations. Neither Bea seemed particularly happy, and I was wondering what it would take to make Bea a happy woman again. I was pleased that Adam didn't disappear from one story when Bea ran away from him at the wedding, instead he's an important part in her life for both stories. You'd expect him to hate her, but he was so lovely, the perfect man in lots of ways and I wanted Bea to end up happy with him.

Bea is really into gardening in the book, it's her thing and I enjoyed reading about that a lot, even though I'm not particularly green-fingered or into gardening myself! I loved reading about Bea's visions for the flowers she put together in her new job at the flower shop, or the gardens she envisioned herself doing for the course she thought about doing. It was a good way of getting inside Bea's creative head, and getting out some of her emotion through her work too. The reason for her love of gardening was very touching too, something very different for the book and again went a long way to explaining Bea and her character throughout the book. Ali really puts across Bea's passion for it so well, and I think that is what I liked most about the character, the passion she has for the things she loves.

This was a fantastic book, and certainly makes you think about the decisions you make in life, and how they affect other things in your life too. However, this book made me realise that although you might regret decisions you made, they usually lead to the same outcome had you chosen a different path anyway. Destiny is always the same, you are fated to be with certain people, do certain things, no matter how you get there. For Bea, she experienced two very different paths to her outcome, and each was important in shaping the person she became, but it didn't change her destiny in the end. As I said, I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did but Ali Harris' writing made this a must-read, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. Bea was a character you couldn't help but love, and I loved the way the two life paths for her alternated in the book, it was easy to keep up and I really didn't want it to end. A brilliant book I highly recommend.

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