Title: Stand In Star by Rachael Johns
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Word Count: 72,000
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
As an anthropologist, Holly McCartney is more comfortable in a museum than shopping on Rodeo Drive. She isn’t prepared for the media frenzy on her arrival in L.A. to accept a posthumous acting award for her late sister…or for her sister’s gorgeous friend Nate Devlin to come to her rescue. Though he resents her for some reason, she can’t fight their irresistible chemistry—especially when the paparazzi force her to stay at his mansion.
Photographer Nate only agrees to help Holly survive Hollywood for her sister’s sake, but she soon gets under his skin in a way no other woman has. The more time he spends with her, the more his attraction grows and he finds himself opening up to her in ways he never expected. But will ghosts of the past stand in the way of their perfect Hollywood ending?
Rachael Johns’ Stand In Star is a sweet contemporary romance between a naive anthropologist and a jaded celebrity photographer. Holly McCartney is unprepared for the media frenzy surrounding her arrival in Hollywood, but luckily for her, Daisy’s close friend, Nate Devlin, rescues her and offers her a place to stay. Holly’s trip proves to be a healing journey as she comes to terms with the betrayal that caused their long standing estrangement.
Holly and Nate are beautifully developed characters that are both haunted by events from their past. Holly is fighting the insecurities caused by Daisy’s betrayal and her feelings of being overshadowed by her beautiful and successful sister. Devlin’s dysfunctional childhood is the driving force behind his success and the reason he keeps his emotions tightly in check.
Nate is very protective of those he loves and this protectiveness is both his best and worst trait. His best because he will do anything for those he cares about. His worst because his fear of failing them causes him to keep an emotional distance. Nate’s life is very compartmentalized and he steers clear of commitment.
Nate and Holly clash right from their very first meeting. Holly is instantly attracted to Nate, but he makes no effort to hide his animosity towards her. Nate is attracted to Holly as well, but as Daisy’s friend, he blames Holly for the estrangement between the two sisters. Both bring their preconceived ideas about the other to the relationship and it was such a delight watching them really get to know one another. Both characters allow painful events to distort their perception of the way they see themselves and I like how their viewpoints evolve along with their relationship.
Stand In Star by Rachael Johns is a character driven novel that is full of emotion. Holly and Nate are quite appealing and their flaws and imperfections are realistic and easy to relate to. An absolutely delightful love story that fans of contemporary romance are sure to enjoy.