Stars in Their Eyes by Pema Donyo: A Book Review

Stars in Their Eyes
Author: Pema Donyo
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Release Date: 2017
Pages: 120
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: This beautifully sweeping story of dueling ambitions and restless hearts in the roaring twenties will captivate fans who loved the romance of the Oscar-winning film La La Land and Paula McLain's bestselling novel The Paris Wife.

     The bohemian salons and wild cabarets of 1920s Paris are just the place for Owen Matthews to pursue his writing and make the right connections in the literary scene. But six years after leaving Los Angeles and the love of his life, he still strives for success. Penning a new screenplay for his friend’s film might just help keep the lights on a bit longer in the City of Lights.

     Iris Wong is used to sacrifice and rejection as an Asian-American actress. She’s determined to take full advantage of her new leading role in a Parisian silent film—and the director’s romantic interest in her. Playing the game almost guarantees she’ll be able to break through the industry’s racism and become the silver screen star she’s dreamed of being since she earned her first nickel as a Hollywood extra.

     When these two star-crossed lovers unexpectedly reunite, they get a second chance to reconcile their hearts’ desires with their dreams of fame and fortune.

     My Review: Iris Wong is an aspiring actress. Because she is Asian-American, she faces rejections in Hollywood. The only roles that she can get are supporting roles. When she is offered to star as a lead actress in a Parisian silent film, she quickly accepts. She soon learns that the director has romantic feelings for her. However, her greater problem is Owen, her former love and the man who left her six years ago to pursue his career as a novelist. Owen has been hired to be the movie’s screenwriter. When she reunites with Owen, her feelings for him rekindle. Will Iris and Owen have a second chance at love or must they leave each other again to pursue their own dreams?

    Iris is really a lovable character. She is spunky, ambitious, and hard-working. Even though she faces racism in Hollywood, she never gives up hoping that she can fulfill her own dreams. When the director takes an interest in her, she wonders if agreeing to pursue a relationship with him would be the best career move. Eventually, she learns to rely on herself. At the end of the novel, she becomes a very self-confident woman who is ready to face whatever storm comes her way.

   I adored her relationship with Owen. Owen is a struggling writer. He has been facing rejections for six years. When he meets Iris again, he is nowhere closer to his own goal. He wonders if he can have both, which is a successful writing career and Iris. Eventually, he has to realize what is most important in his life. Both Iris and Owen have a clear and common understanding with one another. They both have a goal to be successful. They spend the rest of the novella wondering if they should give their career or love. They learn that with hard work, they can have both.

   Overall, Stars in Their Eyes are about goals, friendship, and love. Iris and Owen have to rely on each other and plan their future together in order to make their relationship work. I wish that Stars in Their Eyes was a full-length novel rather than a novella because their would have been a more developed relationship between Iris and Owen. Instead, their romance seemed rushed and forced. There were also some repetitive scenes. There were some loose ends in the story. I thought that it ended a bit abruptly because I wanted to know what happened to Iris and Owen after they got together. I wanted to find out if they had ever accomplished their career goals. Still, Stars in Their Eyes is a very well-written novella. It is a short, simple love story that can be savored while sipping your favorite cup of coffee! Ms. Donyo is a very talented author, and I look forward to reading more of her future work! 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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