One true love. A broken heart. An unexpected arrival.
Now I make no secret of the fact that I am a crier. Christmas TV ads, airport arrivals halls, old men crying, anything has the ability to set me off blubbing! So I am never entirely surprised when I start crying at a book, even my husband doesn’t mock me anymore. But this book? THIS BOOK had me crying the entire way through and just when you thought life for the characters couldn’t get any worse…Jemma Robinson says hold my coat!
Sophia and Tom live in a quaint little farmhouse in the town of Lowshore. Their life is a simple one but their happy marriage practically radiates from the page. However, Sophia never told her husband about her past and that past is about to catch up with her!
Whilst Tom is at work, Sophia is kidnapped from her happy home and forced to live the life that she tried so desperately to escape. Beaten, abused and powerless, Sophia manages to find two people worthy of her trust but will she ever escape? Can she ever regain the life that she used to have with Tom?
The beauty of this book is that it revolves around its characters. There is very little world building here but, honestly, it isn’t needed. Nothing matters to Tom and Sophia except one-another and that is reflected in Jemma Robinson’s writing style.
The characters themselves stay with you long after the final page: Sophia wears her heart on her sleeve, Tom is steadfast and passionately protective, James and Annalise are, in contrast, calm and collected individuals but Edmund is nothing short of a psychopath!
Edmund is no fairytale villain, despite the Lord Farquaad vibes I was getting from him. Robinson’s antagonist wouldn’t be out of place in Game of Thrones: he is truly revolting, controlling and revels in his absolute power over everything and everyone in his kingdom.
The Stars That Guide You Home is marketed as historical romance, not a fairytale, and with its medicine, photographs and labour camps then it does seem too modern to be considered a fairytale. However, I would argue that castles, arranged marriages, medieval torture and absence of any morally grey characters could push this into the category of dark fairytale.
There are a number of trigger warnings within this novel that I want to highlight. This is by no means a YA book – it is definitely Adult Fiction or New Adult at a push. These trigger warnings include rape, physical and mental abuse, animal cruelty, torture (in detail), kidnap, burns, suicide, miscarriage and general violence.
Dark fairytale still doesn’t seem enough… Sinister fairytale might just do it!
The Stars That Guide You Home is simultaneously beautiful, horrifying and inspiring. This book will break your heart over and over again and keep you coming back for more. Thank you to The Book Network for the opportunity to review this amazing novel, and thank you to Jemma, even though you did make me cry for 486 pages!