My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Contemporary/ Contemporary Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: FF
With the recent breakdown of both her ten-year relationship and her parents’ marriage, thirty-five-year-old Marnie Barnes no longer believes in love. To give her life the shake-up it so clearly needs, she books a ticket to Canada.
Thousands of miles away from her home and her twin sister, she struggles to have the life-changing experience she dreamt of – until she meets Nova, a dinosaur-loving space nerd with a penchant for living in the moment. After a wonderful day together in Vancouver, they part ways. Though gutted, Marnie thinks it’s proof that she’s not meant to find love and tries to move on with her life.
But a few months later, back in England, she bumps into someone achingly familiar. As Marnie navigates her new feelings, takes chances and makes the first move for the first time in her life, can she regain her faith in love – and find it for herself?
I received a free copy from the publisher through Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
When I saw this one on netgalley it caught my eye and I am glad I got this one as I really enjoyed it. I started reading this one in the perfect mood as this one fit exactly what I wanted to read. Love Lessons in Starcross Valley was a great read about Marnie who has to find herself and figure out what she wants from life after her boyfriend from 10 years cheats on her, she loses her job and her parents separate. I really enjoyed following Marnie’s journey. It’s a light and uplifting read while also delving deep into Marnie’s mindset and journey.
At first I was a bit confused by the start of this book as it wasn’t what I had expected. With how much of the blurb focuses on Marnie meeting Nova in Canada and their connection I had assumed Marnie’s Canada trip would be a much bigger part of the story. In reality the prologue is that one day in Canada where she meets Nova and then chapter 1 starts while Marnie is back home in England. Once I had adjusted my expectations I was able to settle in and relax into this read. I agree with another reviewer who said it isn’t quite a romance book as it reads more like Women’s Fiction with the focus being in Marnie’s journey, but the romance is an important part of the book.
I enjoyed reading about Marnie and following her story. Marnie is struggling with life as things didn’t go as expected and now she doesn’t know what to do. When the story starts she just returns form a 6 month trip to Canada and she’s already in a better place and a lot of this book focuses on her moving forward now that she had this great trip. She has to figure out what she wants from life, find a new job, deal with her parents separation, face her twin after 6 months apart and maybe find some new love too.
I liked how deep we get to be in Marnie’s head in this book and at times I wish the book would go even deeper. I liked seeing how she faces these challenges and how slowly she finds her confidence again and figures out what she wants. I thought it was well done how her anxiety is handled, it felt very realistic. It’s pretty subtle, but present. It’s part of her life, but not the biggest part and there are plenty of moments where she’s fine too. I could really feel Marnie’s passion for teaching and how much she cared about kids. I liked how she saw each kid as an individual and the bond she forms with Paislee was awesome to see.
There are some great side characters in this book. Marnie has some great people surrounding her. She has a best friend in Antoni who bakes a lot of yummy sounding food for her in this book. In fact there’s quite a bit of food in this book, which I liked. Then she has her friend Cameron as well who runs a craft store and Marnie loves crafts. I also liked her twin sister Jodi and the way they interacted, they have some hurdles to overcome in this book, but it’s clear most of their struggles are because they care so much. They really have a tight bond and I enjoyed reading about them. Then there is Jovi’s daughter Sienna, who plays a big role too. I also liked the way her parents separation was handled and how it’s clear it’s for the best even though Marnie struggles a bit with it at first.
Then there is the romance which was lovely. I like the way Nova views life and how the encourages Marnie to live life to fullest. I liked their connection and the way it deepens when Nova comes to England. I also liked Nova’s fascination with dinosaurs, it was a fun touch. I liked how they have a few things they have to overcome, but their romance is very low on the drama. They made for a great couple and the epilogue was great!
To summarize: Love Lesson in Starcross Valley was a great read. It took me by surprise when the start was different than I expected, instead of focusing on her trip to Canada there’s only the prologue about that. This book follows Marnie journey as she arrives back home and has to figure out what she wants from life now she broke up with her boyfriend, lost her job and her parents are separated. I liked following Marnie as she figures things out. I like how we get a good idea for Marnie’s personality and it was awesome to see her get her confidence back and the way she deals with everything. There is a romance, but I felt that the main focus was on Marnie’s journey. Having said that I did really like the romance, Nova and Marnie make for a great couple and I liked reading about them. The form an instant connection when they first meet and I liked seeing them build upon that. They have things to overcome, but it’s low on the drama. I liked reading about their romance. There are some great side characters too that all bring the story to life and it was great that Marnie had so many people who cared about her.