ARC REVIEW: Falling for a Star by Ellen Brooks
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC via StoryOrigin in exchange for a fair review.
Dr. Emily Barnes is perfectly content to spend her life wrapped up in her research, as far away from the limelight as she can get. But when her colleague has an accident and can no longer fulfil his commitments as historical consultant for tv drama Highlands, Emily is forced to step in and take his place.
On her very first day on set she meets Andrew Grant, heartthrob and one of the stars of the series—and he turns her life absolutely upside down. But her fear of the spotlight has the potential to be a massive hurdle, given his career and the growing press interest in the two of them.
I loved how the relationship between Emily and Andrew developed over the course of the novel. His easy charm and gentle nature wins Emily over and keeps breaking down her walls, but her own insecurities keep getting in their way. Watching her open up to him, piece by piece was wonderful because it enabled her to get more in touch with herself and with what she wanted out of life. He's also one of my favourite romantic heroes from my recent reads; the man is patient, thoughtful and willing to be vulnerable, making for the perfect book boyfriend. And that accent—I need a fan! I have no idea if Ellen is Scottish herself, or hired a Scottish sensitivity reader or editor, but her handling of Gaelic and Scots, and her depiction of Scottish accents is really well done. I could practically hear the voices of Andrew and the other Scottish characters in my head, without it feeling overdone or inaccurate.
I also adored how Ellen integrated Emily's work into the book. The tidbits of historical fact weaved in throughout the narrative really appealed to me—though that might just be because I'm a bit of a history nerd myself. But they also demonstrate the consideration and care that Emily puts into her work, which is a real testament to her character.
Emily's friends and the rest of the Highlands cast and crew are also brilliant fun, with a wonderful mix of characters from all walks of life. Their open acceptance of Emily into the Highlands crew was lovely, and I thought her best friend was an absolute riot of a good time. Though I have an inkling as to the main pairing for the second book in the series, I'm looking forward to seeing who else gets their own HEA.
Final verdict: A gorgeously written romance against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, Falling for a Star absolutely swept me away. 🍯🍯🍯🍯🍯/5 honeypots!