Love Lessons in Starcross Valley

Escape winter with this gorgeously uplifting romantic read for 2022

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Pub Date 3 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2022

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'A lovely, very different 5* read from Lucy Knott, full of her trademark cosiness' Sam Tonge, author of Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage, on The Little Barn of Dreams

With the recent breakdown of both her ten-year relationship and her parents' marriage, thirty-five-year-old Marnie Barnes no longer believes in love. To give her life the shake-up it so clearly needs, she books a ticket to Canada.

Thousands of miles away from her home and her twin sister, she struggles to have the life-changing experience she dreamt of – until she meets Nova, a dinosaur-loving space nerd with a penchant for living in the moment. After a wonderful day together in Vancouver, they part ways. Though gutted, Marnie thinks it's proof that she's not meant to find love and tries to move on with her life.

But a few months later, back in England, she bumps into someone achingly familiar. As Marnie navigates her new feelings, takes chances and makes the first move for the first time in her life, can she regain her faith in love – and find it for herself?

'A lovely, very different 5* read from Lucy Knott, full of her trademark cosiness' Sam Tonge, author of Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage, on The Little Barn of Dreams

With the recent breakdown of...

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Featured Reviews

I was a bit surprised by this book. It is not the type of book, I would usually choose to read, but I really liked the cover and the description.

At first I found it difficult to follow, as the first few chapters, seemed to jump around a bit, which made it hard to follow initially. But with all books, I always make sure I read 100 pages or 10% before I give up, and I was really grateful to have persuaded with this book as it is thoroughly enjoyable.

Marnie has recently had her personal world, fall apart around her, i.e her long time boyfriend had cheated on her, her parents were getting a divorce, and she had been terminated from her career as a teacher. On a last minute whim, Marnie decided to flee from all her problems in her small town where every body knew everybody and she want on a 6 month vacation to Canada on her own.

The escape to Canada, was just what she needed, a break from everything back home, Marnie was able to enjoy some hiking and ice hockey games, and was able to spend one very special day doing a guided tour of Canada by a special stranger she had met at her first ice hockey game.

6 months later when Marnie had come back home, things had changed, but it seemed for the better. Her Mum had a boyfriend, and her family where all happy to see her, despite her taking off and leaving them for 6 months without so much as a goodbye.

Upon coming home Marnie is unsure how she will go settling in to her old life, she is anxious about seeing her best friend Antoni and her family again. Like all good family and friends, they embrace her with open arms.

Marnie finds a new job at her niece's school as a Teacher's Aid, she is assisting a little girl (Paige) who is behind in her learning and tends to have issues with frustration and anger.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Marnie build a relationship based on trust with Paige, it really is beautiful to see how much she helps this young girl and bring her out of her shell, build her confidence and improve on her studies.

Marnie's love life is becoming more interesting each day since her return home, I won't give anything away, apart from keep reading the book, the story is wonderful.

Thankyou to Netgalley, Head of Zeus Publishers and Lucy Knott for this advanced copy in return for my honest review. This truly is a lovely story. I rate this novel 4 stars.

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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

Marnie, heads to Canada after her long relationship along with her parents marriage breaks down and she doesn’t be mice in love no longer. But once she’s there, away from her loved ones and her twin sister, she’s not having that l experience she thought she would or wanted to have.

That is, until she meets Nova, who loves dinosaurs and everything to do with space and believes in living in the moment. So, agent having a wonderful time in Vancouver together, they go their separate ways. Marnie isn’t happy and she assumes it just goes to show that finding and being in love again isn’t for her and should try to move on with her life.

Back home, she Reyes to keep the confidence she had in Canada but finds it hard when she’s getting the cold treatment from some of the community members, even though her family and friends ask her to ignore them. She also finds a new job in a school where she feels the same from her colleagues.

But, whilst on a school trip, she unexpectedly meets someone she previously knew. Trying to sort through her feelings, she decides to take a chance to find happiness. Will she find love for herself?

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Wow I was so pleasantly surprised by this book, it isn't your average romance novel and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.
Initially there's the adventures of solo travel as Marnie embarks on a trip to Canada, and whilst she's clearly dealing with a traumatic time in her life, she's bravely facing new experiences and this leads to a chance encounter that changes her trajectory.
Back in the UK eventually we meet her twin sister Jovi, and her best friend Antonie and slowly her secrets are revealed as well as her new start. I adored Marnie, her vulnerability was hard to witness but her integrity, loyalty and compassion was wonderful to see, Nova was the perfect balance to this story and such a fabulous character too (hurrah for geeks!) Paislee was just a sweetheart! It is more than just a light-hearted, uplifting read, it truly explores the importance of friendships and staying true to yourself.
The representation in this story is perfect and the themes of acceptance, love and understanding that not every adult or child is the same was both well written and personal; I applaud and appreciate the thoughtfulness and intricacies of the stories in this book

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Since the vast majority of the books I read are romance and people regularly ask me for romance recs, I feel like I should start by saying Love Lessons in Starcross Valley is a romance in the traditional sense - it has a happily ever after - but other than being introduced to the love interest in the prologue, we don’t see her again until halfway through the book. So while this book does have a lovely, sweet, heartfelt romance, it’s more women’s fiction, with the main journey being Marnie’s story of self-discovery, healing, and her relationships with the people closest to her.

I really liked Marnie and saw a lot of myself in her, especially her fears and anxiety. I enjoyed watching her come into her own, repair her relationships, and open her heart after being hurt and inflicting some unintentional hurt herself. I felt like I was part of her wonderful little group of friends and family (side note: I'd love to see a story about Antoni!), and the town of Orion and its people felt very real. Being Canadian, I also loved all the Canadian references and the fact Nova was Canadian. Nova was a wonderful character too, and I loved that she was an unapologetic nerd because I’m very much the same way!

I loved Marnie’s passion for teaching and, as someone who was once an early childhood educator myself, I appreciated how Marnie advocated for Paislee when no one else would. The other teachers wouldn't take the time to help her properly and saw her as a ‘problem to be dealt with’ but Marnie saw her as the complex, amazing person she was, and she was determined to make sure the little girl had everything she needed to learn, grow, and feel safe.

Love Lessons in Starcross Valley is for you if you enjoy women’s fiction with well-rounded, realistic characters, explorations of self-discovery, healing, and relationships, and sweet sapphic romances that will leave you with a smile on your face and a happy heart.

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This story follows Marnie, who has gone on a 6 month holiday trip in order to escape a failed relationship, the breakdown of her parents marriage and a gossipy small town.

While out taking a breathe from her life she meets Nova who brings a glimmer of happiness. This is very much a Cinderella at the ball type meeting .. they have one night together and then Marnie returns home.

The first part of the book you meet Nova and then you don’t hear about her again until about half way through the book. This made the pace feel a little slow as really that’s the part I wanted to read. However once Nova comes back into the story it definitely becomes interesting.

It explores toxic relationships and I really related to what Marnie went through and what she overcame. It also explores autism in the mainstream school setting and how Marnie supports a child being let down in Education.

It’s a feel good sapphic romance, which is really easy to read and heart warming . Thank you
to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for sending this as an E-arc.

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A book of living in a small town , being a twin and falling in love.. A good story. The descriptions of the baked goods in the bakery were amazing and you wanted to eat them. The school parts were very true and how Marnie supported Paislee was great . You started and ended in Canada. The relationship between Marnie and her niece was fab. A great read. Also a lovely love story

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I really enjoy reading books by Lucy Knott but this one took a lot of reading to get into it but once over that stage it was a very enjoyable story. That ofcourse is just my opinion, and many others will enjoy this from the first page. If it doesn't get you from the first few pages keep reading and everything will fall into place and you will be pleased that you have read this. 4 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this e ARC

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How I absolutely adored this book.

Starting with a prologue in Canada where we meet Marnie and Nova and get a quick taste of an early connection, plus fabulous setting.

And although starting chapter 1 I was slightly disappointed that we weren't still in Canada, I grew to love Starcross Valley fairly quickly too.

As much as getting to know Marnie's twin Jovi and her family was great to me the story kicked up a gear when Paislee was introduced.

Paislee has a very special place in my heart and I was wanting to hug her almost instantly. The way her SEN are seen and handled was sensitively dealt with by the author, even if some of the teachers I wanted to throw things at.

If you have ever thought Romance novels needed more dinosaurs then you will love this one, as there are multiple dino mad characters.

This felt like a breath of fresh air to be reading, and I was completely hooked on it. Loved this book so so much.

Thank you Aria and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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Love Lessons in Starcross Valley by Lucy Knott

I received an advance review copy for free thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus and I am leaving this review voluntarily

With the recent breakdown of both her ten-year relationship and her parents' marriage, thirty-five-year-old Marnie Barnes no longer believes in love. To give her life the shake-up it so clearly needs, she books a ticket to Canada. Thousands of miles away from her home and her twin sister, she struggles to have the life-changing experience she dreamt of - until she meets Nova, a dinosaur-loving space nerd with a penchant for living in the moment.

After a wonderful day together in Vancouver, they part ways. Though gutted, Marnie thinks it's proof that she's not meant to find love and tries to move on with her life. But a few months later, back in England, she bumps into someone achingly familiar.

I was surprised by this book - it was not what I was expecting from Lucy. From the prologue I wasn't sure I was going to like this book but from the very first chapter I knew that I had been wrong as it was an enjoyable read. The main focus of the book is Marnie's self-discovery with a hint of romance. Well-rounded characters that will leave you with a smile on your face.

Rating 4/5

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It is a good book and I really enjoyed reading it, but the beginning of the book was really scattered. It felt like I was being jolted through a time warp instead of gently led through the quick passage of time, I wish that it would have taken a bit longer for the reader to journey home with the main character. I LOVED the opening scene with Nova it felt a bit like a dream that you were dragged from too soon, which is part of why I as a reader wished the entire Canada montage had been a bit longer. Everything after the most precious meet-cute was rushing to get the reader back home to the far less dreamy return to reality (which was still enjoyable but much different narrative-wise). I felt like the description of the book was not very accurate for the experience of reading the book, but it was still overall an enjoyable quick read. Reading this book made me hungry, I have been craving sweets since I started reading. Speaking of food, I love Antoni. He is such a wonderful character who brings a lot of joy to every scene he is in. He also reminds me a lot of Antoni from Queer Eye since he cooks and obviously has the same name. I rounded up to four stars from the three and a half solely because of Antoni alone. If you are looking for a quick sapphic read this is definitely a good one to put on the list!

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I love Lucy Knott's books and feel this one is the best I have read. Wonderful narratives and descriptions. Highly recommend.

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This book was a real surprise and unexpected compared to Lucy Knott's previous books. Sensitive, intimate, delicate, it deals with some great life issues that are many peoples everyday reality. Treating autism with love was truly heartening, and showed huge insight.
Marnie has just taken six months in Canada after life in her village of Orion became too difficult to deal with. What she found in Canada surprised and amazed her.
The book unfolds delicately and beautifully, just as Marnie unfolds from her heartbreak to embrace her new life.
This book is full of wisdom and warmth and very enjoyable to read, as always with Lucy's books! Trying not to say too much, as don't want to include spoilers!!
Huge thanks to NetGalley for the early read, this one is very special!!

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After Marnie found out her boyfriend had cheated on her and her parents split up it became too much for her so she left her twin sister and her best friend and took herself to Canada for a holiday to try and sort her head out. While there she met and had an immediate reaction to Nova at an ice hockey game and they spent 1 day together exploring before parting ways, Marnie never believing they would see each other again
When Marnie returns home a few months later she has lots of bridges to build with her family and friends and a new job to find.
As she is finally getting her life in order a certain person she met in Canada arrives and all the attraction comes back
A love story with a difference

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A sweet romance, embedded throughout a nice transformational story. Great characters, great setting, great story. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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I have read and thoroughly enjoyed a couple of Lucy’s books. By no means have I caught up with everything that she has written but I hope to get there in the not too distant future. I read the synopsis for ‘Love Lessons In Starcross Valley’ and it certainly sounded like the sort of story that I would enjoy. So without further ado, I grabbed a cup of tea, grabbed my Kindle and settled down for what proved to be an interesting afternoon of reading. Overall I did enjoy reading ‘Love Lessons In Starcross Valley’ but more about that in a bit.
I have to be honest and say that it took me a little while to get into this story. I didn’t feel the instant connection with the lead characters that I usually have. Even now I can’t say that I especially warmed to Marnie but at the same time I can’t say that I especially disliked her. I did eventually get into the story and I found that I was unable to read the book in one long reading binge but I did read it in several short bursts, which certainly helped. I had my own suspicions as to what was ging to happen and I had to keep reading to see if I was on the right track or if I had got the wrong end of the stick. I did like reading about the ways in which Marnie tries to pick herself up and create a new life for herself. I found ‘Love Lessons In Starcross Valley’ to be an interesting and emotional read.
‘Love Lessons In Starcross Valley’ is well written. Lucy has an easy going writing style that is easy to get used to and easy to get along with. The way in which she has written the story reads more like a chat between friends rather than reading a book. I hope that makes sense. The characters were certainly interesting and at times they surprised me. I loved the way in which Lucy writes about her characters- she describes them so vividly and realistically that they seem just as real as you and I. I love the way in which Lucy makes the reader feel as though they are part of the story and at the heart of the action.
In short and overall I did enjoy reading ‘Love Lessons In Starcross Valley’ and I would recommend it to other readers. I will certainly be reading more of Lucy’s work in the future. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 4* out of 5*.

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Unlike previous books by this author I found this book quite hard to get into, probably because I couldn't really relate to Marnie. The pace however did pick up especially once she had left Canada and was a good quick read

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Y'all, this book! First of all the meet cute is everything. Never have I shipped a couple more quickly. The book is clean and cute and cheesy and quirky in all the best ways. Like Gilmore Girls meets every Hallmark movie ever, if Stars Hollow was a quaint English Village and Hallmark had kissing girls and dinosaurs.

I'm a big dinosaur fan myself, so I absolutely loved how they were integrated throughout the book. I kinda want to BE Nova. And Marnie's glitter obsession? Same girl, same.

This book also has my personal favorite Grand Gesture of all time.

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