Book Review: Love Lessons in Starcross Valley by Lucy Knott.

 It's that wonderful time of the year not's my turn to review Lucy's latest book and I couldn't be more excited about it. Like all of Lucy's books 'Love Lessons In Starcross Valley' holds a special place in my heart, so lets dive into it shall we?

The Blurb.

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?

My Review.

First off, how pretty is the cover? The colours, the setting it just pops and screams 'Read Me!!' I adore it! Secondly, I'm letting the fact that this is Luc's 6th book and 6th cover sink in!! It's an amazing accomplishment and I know I say it a lot, but I'm so flipping proud of ridiculously proud!! 

Even though I'd read 'Love Lessons In Starcross Valley,' a couple of times throughout the editing process, Luc never shared the dedication with me and it wasn't until I got an early copy that I noticed it and realised I'd never actually seen it - I always look forward to seeing book dedications. I'm not going to lie, I got emotional, 1, because it's a perfect dedication and 2, because I get to share this book with a pretty awesome person. More on him in a little bit. 

So, the story... I think I've said this with each one of Luc's books, but it's worth repeating because of how true it is. I love, love, love the fact that her books are all different and how each one of them is full of so much heart. While not every story is real life, obviously, they are all very much inspired by real people and occasionally real events. This always makes Luc's book feel that much more emotionally driven and heartfelt. I can feel her connections and love for her characters pour off every single page. 

As was definitely the case with 'Love Lessons In Starcross Valley.' Luc finally wrote a twin story! YAY!! Naturally being a twin and writing about a twin meant that she certainly knew what she was talking about, especially where mine and her relationship is concerned. This meant that I did get very emotional at times with Marnie and Jovi's relationship. I could relate to a lot of what they were going through. In some ways reading it in book from was very therapeutic for me. They had a wonderful sister bond and while I'm not sure I could ever jet off for 6 months without Luc, I understand why Marnie did it. Actually that's a lie, I did in fact move to Florida with my husband, while Luc was still in Kentucky years ago, that lasted for about 6 months so I know exactly how that feels. Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do!

The whole family and friends vibe in this book was on point and I had many a laugh out loud moment with Marnie and Antoni, who was lovely. I loved him looking out for Marnie with delicious food and I adore that he was inspired by Antoni from Queer Eye. We love him and I think Luc's character of Antoni in 'Love Lessons' was a perfect tribute to him! Jovi's family was utterly adorable and I very much enjoyed reading about them. I totally understood the overprotectiveness for Marnie from Jovi and Antoni as sometimes when you love someone you really don't want to hurt them with snippets of rumours or information you don't feel like they need to hear, especially when they've already been hurt badly before. 

Nova is an utterly beautiful character who I fell in love with from the first moments I met her. The whole Canada prologue had me smiling so big. It's definitely a place on my bucket list and I'm so glad Luc got to write a book where she gets to talk about it a bit, because I know it's close to the top of her bucket list with San Francisco too! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole prologue and getting to see Marnie having fun and throwing caution to the wind with Nova. The two of them together make such a gorgeous couple! I mean have you seen the picture Breagh from AGingerly did to represent them? I have it up in my house and the two of them are stunning!

Marnie's job as a teaching assistant was also easy for me to relate to and I'm so happy that Luc wrote about this too. You can read more about her inspiration behind characters and the story, but I'd like to give my take on it too, as it's something we're both really passionate about. Marnie meets Paislee in 'Love Lessons In Starcross Valley,' and Paislee is autistic. This brings me back to Luc's inspiration and the wonderful person I share the dedication with. I was fortunate enough to witness Luc's work over the last two and a half years with her little boy at school who is autistic. Their relationship was/is one that I wholeheartedly believe everyone should read and know about, because I feel we need more understanding of this in schools. Luc certainly helped set me up for the boy I am working with now. Marnie truly sees Paislee and understands her. She wants what's best for her and to make her happy, this to me is more important than data, tick boxes and 'supposed to's' that we are taught to follow in school. I know Luc won't always take the compliments and I know we don't do what we do for them, we do it because we care, but, and I'm going to get emotional typing this, she really made a difference in her kid's life. She wasn't a 1:1 support for him, she was friend when he needed one. This story isn't about being a saviour or speaking for autistic children, it's about changing the system, it's about speaking up for those that do need a voice and encouraging and hopefully inspiring others to think different about their work or how you treat people you meet in every day life. 

I go to work and spend 99% of my day playing with figures, lying on the floor and relating everything to youtubers and Minecraft, some people may not agree with it and trust me, some don't, but whose to say that isn't school and learning? Not every child learns the same way, not every child fits in the 'regular' school system. It's our job to see that, accept it and give them what they need. I honestly, truly hope that whoever picks up this book sees that and passes the book or the message on. 

Forgive me for my rambles, but this element of 'Love Lessons,' is so important to me, it's not the whole book but it's a wonderful part of it. The conversations between Marnie and Paislee had me smiling so big...especially if you say Paislee's lines in an American accent. Oh my heart!!! 

That's another thing about this story, as with Luc's others books, it's not just a straightforward romance. There is more to it, much more. You've got Marnie's past, her adventures, her getting her life back on track, her friendships, her family life, her parents, her job and then of course her magical romance. It's full of dinosaurs, space, crafts, pumpkins, donuts, ice hockey, coffee and LOVE in all it's amazing, beautiful forms. I'm so happy that Luc wrote the book she's wanted to write for a while. I'm so proud of everything she's talked about in it and I hope you pick yourself up a copy and enjoy it as much as me.

Luc said someone said that she has her very own genre. I firmly believe in this and that it's a huge compliment, because I can never categorise her books, I just know that I love them and that I'm so pleased that she has gotten to share them with the world. 

Happy Reading!

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