Cassandra by Starlight
by SUSAN MAC NICOL
A London woman is swept off her feet into the glamorous yet surprisingly dangerous world of an up-and-coming star of stage and screen.
TO CATCH A RISING STAR
Unconventional though she may be, Cassandra Wallace leads the life of an average Londoner, from blind dates to rush hour traffic. Then, along comes Bennett Saville. Charming, erudite, the up-and-coming actor is like the hero of a romantic movie. He sets Cassie afire like he has the stage and screen, and defies the tragedy that brought them together. From the tips of his Armani loafers to their scorching hot first kiss, he’s perfect. Only, he’s ten years younger and from the upper class, and those emerald eyes invite dangerous secrets. The world is full of hungry leading ladies, and every show must have its villain. Yet a true romance will always find its happy ending.
After just reading the first chapter, I knew that I would stay up well into the read to finish this book. And yes, I did just that. The first chapter reads like any other start to a romance book and then BAM, you are head first in a plot that you have no idea where its gonna lead you and where its going to end.
Cassandra was minding her own business, sitting in traffic one morning when the unthinkable happens to her. Enter Bennett Saville; suave, sexy, younger and seemingly interested in her. But why? There's an age gap between them. She's not as pretty as his last girlfriend. Cassandra has no idea what lies ahead of her when she meets Bennett, she knows that her world will never be the same again.
When Bennett got the call that no one ever wants to receive, he reaches out to Cassandra and finds that he likes her. She intrigues him like no other woman has. Dealing with being a television/stage actor and all that ensues with it, he is more than ready to see where his relationship with Cassandra will led him.
The family dynamic in this book is wonderful. Between Bennett's mother and father; Cassandra's sister and her sister's partner, it works. Cassandra and Bennett are from two totally different backgrounds but when they are together, nothing and no one else matters. The friends that they have between them are well written secondary characters. Not intrusive but necessary for Cassandra's and Bennett's growth as individuals and as a couple. Dylan, straight up is hilarious!!! Just saying.
I can not tell how wonderful it was to read a British author and find that her publisher didn't try to change her voice. British authors have a way with making a Yankee, even worse a Southern like myself, wish that they lived in England. They way the characters talk; what they eat; how their hospitals work; just everything is laid out in a such a way that even a dumb Southern understands what is being said and why. I hate when publishers try to change an author's voice. Bravo for not doing this in this book.
If you are wondering why I haven't mention the sex in the book well, its not graphic in nature but its there. Loving, sometimes animalistic, and also emotional. Another thing that I'm glad Susan didn't do was make Cassandra hate her body and herself for being older. Trust me, the age gap is NOT an issue in the bedroom. Read and you know what I'm saying...
The suspense element that is woven in this book is very well thought out and nicely played. My only problem with the book is that it was slow read for me. I felt like that some parts of the book were too drawn out and somewhat lagged. Finding out who did what to whom and where was different, too. Again, its that BAM factor again. You are reading along and than BAM. Bravo for keeping it real, too. The author touches on some issues that are normally not brought up in a romance novel and it was refreshing to see how her characters reacted to them.
Overall, I would recommend Cassandra by Starlight for its leisurely pace, brilliant British voice and two characters that I already miss. Cassandra and Bennett took ahold of me and now have a permanent place in my heart.
4 1/2 Harlies and a recommended read
Sue Mac Nicol was born in Headingley, Leeds, in the United Kingdom. When she was eight years old her family emigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa. One day, after yet another horrific story of violence to friends, they decided it was time to leave. In December 2000 they found themselves in the Arrivals area at Heathrow and have stayed in the UK ever since, loving every minute of it.
In between her day job as a regulatory compliance officer for a financial services company in Cambridge and normal daily life, the inspiration for the Starlight series was born; Sue’s characters, Cassie and Bennett, finally made their debut onto the flickering screen of a laptop and gave her the opportunity to become a published author—a dream she’s had since being a young girl old enough to hold a pencil.
Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She lives in a town house in the rural village of Bocking, Essex, with her husband of twenty eight years, Gary (who believes he deserves a long service award for putting up with her for so long), two children, Jason, 24, and Ashley, 19, and a mixed collie mongrel called Blu.
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