Roundabout these parts, dirt roads don’t just get you from point A to point B. They intersect to create a maze of life often missed when outsiders drive through a sleepy town. The number on the population sign might seem insignificant, but a few short steps from the beaten path, there’s more than meets the eye.
Look a little closer… That sleek out-of-town convertible is bringing former pageant queen Brooke Langdon back into town for the first time in a decade. She’s dragging nothing with her but the hyphen in her last name. Gatlin Moore is running his tractor along the fence line, spending his days keeping up his parents’ farm instead of living out his dreams in Nashville. The sheriff is pulling into Holly Christian’s driveway, preparing to tell her that her life’s about to crumble. And Hunter Pearce, the guy everyone calls when they need something fixed? He’s racing to Holly’s place too, wondering if things are too broken to put back together.
Welcome to Hope Canyon. This is our backroads story.
I have lived in various small towns all of my life, and there are some things that are universal in said small towns. With Written in the Stars, Ms. Coryell does an excellent job of making that backroads, small town feel come to life and become so very real. She vividly captures that life and that atmosphere. She doesn’t tell us what small town life is like, but aptly demonstrates it, shows it with each word of her book, each place you visit, each situation that arises. My skin almost felt gritty with dust as Brooke arrived in Hope Canyon and saw her grandmother’s home in so many years. The author’s words do so much more than describe, they transport you there.
Not only does Ms. Coryell take you to Hope Canyon, she really takes you on a journey with these characters and I love it when an author accomplishes that feat. You feel the ghosts of the past that these people must face in more ways than one and can identify with many of their internal struggles. I saw Holly’s and Brooke’s friendship as God providing us with what we need, even the people we need, in an unexpected way. Through their trek together, they discover things about themselves and about each other as well as see some truths they’ve been missing. I loved seeing them begin to go from trying to go it all alone to starting to let walls come down with the burden of secrets being shared and steps to move forward being taken.
I must admit that the book brought about some very mixed emotions in me. There were situations that made me ache for the characters and wish that maybe different choices had been made or that, at least, maybe things could be made right from this point on. Thankfully, there is hope of that presented in the book. There is a particular ghost of the past for Holly and Hunter that really frustrated me; someone who should have wanted the best for both of them, but instead seemed only to selfishly think of himself. There’s a lot left to the story so maybe more will come out that will help me understand that situation better in the second book, but as of now, it just frustrates me that someone would toy with someone else’s life for so long. Honestly, I think I’ll know more about my feelings concerning some situations and characters after I get my hands on the second book in the series.
My biggest “complaint” (if you can even call it that) is where the book ended. While it’s not a complete cliffhanger type ending, there’s definitely a lot more to the journey. It sort of feels like we’re really getting somewhere and seeing some hopeful things happen and then the book ends. And while I am grateful for the hopeful happenings, I am also more than ready to continue the journey. I want to know more. I feel like we were just beginning to scratch the surface of these characters and their stories and just really starting to get down to the deeper layers at the end of this book. Life is ongoing and not all cut and dry and perfect and I get that, but I really prefer for the books I read to have more solid endings. I like to leave a book feeling like, even though things may not be perfect, my friends, the characters, are on pretty solid ground. I’ve read another series by this author and she epilogued that series in a way that I loved and that left me with a smile for days, so I am optimistic that the second book, Written in the Dust (which will be coming out October 3rd) will follow through and have a more solid ending.
Settle in for a trip to a small town with its quirks, joys, griefs, the good, and the bad with Written in the Stars and let’s get ready to see where this journey will take us.
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