Book Review: Stand In Star

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Author: Rachael Johns
eISBN: 9781426894909
eRRP: $5.50

Stand In Star is a contemporary romance that takes Aussie girl Holly out of her comfort zone as a cultural anthropologist in Sydney and sets her down smack bang in the middle of paparazzi central, where she isn’t even sure that she’s what they’ve come for.


Holly is the estranged younger sister of Hollywood starlet Daisy McCartney, recently deceased and now up for a prestigious posthumous award. Holly’s parents convince her that regardless of the family rift separating Daisy from them over the past years Holly should still fly to Hollywood and attend the award ceremony, and accept the award if required.

The betrayal Holly suffered at the hands of her sister is one that no sister should ever have to go through, I can’t imagine my sisters doing anything like that but I think if they did I would react the way Holly did. Some things are way too hard to forgive and forget.

The rift between the sisters came before Daisy made it big in Hollywood so though Holly is aware of her celebrity she hasn’t really seen it in action. On touching down in Hollywood Holly is surrounded by paparazzi, naive and unschooled how to deal with them, so when Nate Devlin swoops in to rescue her it is just in the nick of time, although he seems to resent her for no apparent reason which does not make for a comfortable silence.

Nate happens to be a good friend of Daisy’s, a friend with benefits it seems, and when Holly discovers this she wonders why he would help her and just what he has heard about what caused the rift. Preconceived notions and unfounded conclusions abound between these two very different characters and that just helps the sparks to fly. Holly and Nate challenge one another at every turn, and in doing so help work through many of the issues they are lugging around.

It is widely known that rich photographer Nate is a playboy, he shies from commitment and relationships but is devoted to his sisters. It is not until further in that we start to learn more about why Nate is the ultimate playboy, we also find out where his fortune began which is another bone of contention between he and Holly.

The paparazzi presence at the airport is only outdone by their presence at the hostel Holly has booked into so Nate offers her a room at his place, knowing how ruthless the paparazzi can be. It then becomes apparent that Holly is a little unprepared for Hollywood and what’s expected of her at the awards ceremony. Nate convinces Holly to give his sister a shot at making her dress because she is a talented designer just starting out and a sighting on this red carpet could be just the break she needs; and she can put Holly in touch with everyone she needs to see for the total makeover required for a ceremony of this importance.

The tension between Nate and Holly and the way in which we got to know them better and get inside their heads was well developed and certainly had me hooked, if at times I wanted to slap someone. I really enjoyed the way that Holly’s time in Hollywood explored her relationship with Daisy, and the conclusion it came to.

A very different setting to the other work I have read by Rachael Johns and one I found very enjoyable. I think a small town Aussie author tackling the bright lights of Hollywood as a setting is ambitious and could have been quite risky but in my opinion Rachael has done a fabulous job and I look forward to reading more of her work.

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