Author: J.C Grey
Southern Star takes us to the small town of Meriwether in Queensland where Hollywood star Blaze Gillespie has returned to escape the gossip and scandal that has seen her reputation and career shredded, not to mention that she could well be a suspect in the murder of her beset friend. Meriwether is home to Sweet Springs, the property of her grandparents that she remembers so fondly from her childhood. She inherited it but hasn’t been back since moving to Hollywood to become a star.
It seems a little strange to run to a small town when you are trying to escape gossip because it always seems rife in a small town. Blaze’s scandals are all over the tabloids and glossy magazines so most of those in town know what’s being said about her even before she arrives, many of them have already jumped to their own conclusions about her and they aren’t very flattering.
Blaze is still trying to grieve the loss of her best friend, and the death of a fan that was shot at a film festival not long after Mitch’s murder. She’s hoping that at Sweet Springs she can remain out of the spotlight to regroup and think about what comes next because the scandals and the gossip certainly aren’t what she signed up for. Her arrival at Sweet Springs wasn’t what she expected either, the place is looking severely neglected and needs some serious work but she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and help bring it back to its former glory.
Macauley Black is the owner of the neighbouring station, an arrogant egotist but also scorchingly sexy with deep black eyes and an enormous bulge (yes, we were told that quite a few times) who has never had trouble pulling the ladies but also never had time for a relationship so casual flings are all he’s ever really had. He is roped into picking Blaze up from the airport, where her plane is delayed, and is extremely rude to her at first meeting.
These two have undeniable chemistry, which was to be expected, but the way in which Mac dealt with that really rubbed me up the wrong way. He took a complete caveman approach that made me really angry.
I expected the two to feel an undeniable attraction and end up in bed together, fall madly in love and live happily ever after – this is a romance novel after all. Of course, I also expected there to be conflict and misunderstanding along the way where you never knew whether they would get their acts together or not. The problem with the conflicts for me was that they were so unnecessary – if these two actually sat down and had a conversation their conflicts wouldn’t have happened. I found old fashioned communication and conversation to be a little lacking between these two. Part of that may have been because everything seemed to happen so fast but they still could have found the opportunity to talk. The more I think about it, even the earlier intimate scenes seemed to be less about an emotional connection than about powerful domination. They were hot and Blaze loved it but it seemed very aggressive to me.
Secondary storylines belonging to Rowdy and Marianne were interesting and added depth to the story, also attesting to Blaze’s character, though they could have been fleshed out a little better. Marianne’s story could have added a lot more depth to the story had it been explored a little more, we never really got to know how her storyline was resolved. Rowdy on the other hand was quite a well discussed character and we watched him come back from the brink and really find his feet which was gratifying to see.
Southern Star isn’t all romance and bedrooms though, there is also a much darker storyline involving the murders. I think the suspense was done well, I was kept guessing and I was surprised by the final reveal. Throughout the book the storyline was written well with snapshots from the perpetrators point of view and peeks into the warped little mind that told us where the perp planned to take the scenario and helped us to discover how they slotted into life in Meriwether. The motivation behind the whole suspense storyline was a little bit of a let down. I expected something bigger, something more meaningful.
I really enjoyed this book, it was engaging and entertaining with some very heartfelt moments. We got to see Blaze as more than the Hollywood sexpot portrayed on screen and sullied in the tabloids. We got an inside look into how the scandals affected her, away from the cameras, and we got to know the more vulnerable side of her – the side that she never allowed the cameras to see.