‘A modern-day Romeo and Juliet’
– In Little Stars
In Little Stars by Linda Green published February 2nd with Quercus Books and is described as a ‘powerful and emotional’ read. It is a pleasure to be joining the blog tour today with my review of In Little Stars, a book that was inspired by real-life events of far-right activism and hate that left a huge impact on Linda Green.
[ About In Little Stars ]
Two families divided by hate
A love that will not die.
Sylvie and Donna travel on the same train to work each day but have never spoken. Their families are on different sides of the bitter Brexit divide, although the tensions and arguments at home give them much in common.
What they don’t know is that their eldest children, Rachid and Jodie, are about to meet for the first time and fall in love. Aware that neither family will approve, the teenagers vow to keep their romance a secret.
But as Sylvie’s family feel increasingly unwelcome in England, a desire for a better life threatens Rachid and Jodie’s relationship.
Can their love unite their families – or will it end in tragedy?
[ My Review ]
In Little Stars is a very emotional and heart wrenching tale about young love, hope, racism and hate that will make every reader stop for a moment and consider their action, or lack of, on a daily basis. Globally, society is in chaos, with vehemence and vitriol being part of what we all are exposed to regularly across all media platforms. Pre & Post Brexit in Britain has had its own issues and this is what Linda Green has chosen to be the central vehicle for this heart-breaking tale.
Donna and Sylvie live very different lives. Sylvie is French. She teaches at the School of Healthcare and is married to Bilal, a Muslim doctor. They have two children Rachid and Amina. Sylvie moved country for Bilal’s job. She has always been quite flexible with how their children were reared within the Muslim faith but now as teenagers, Rachid and Amina are looking for independence and the family dynamic is beginning to shift.
Donna works for the council in Leeds and lives with her husband, Neil and their two children, Sam and Jodie. Times are tough for Donna. Sam is a troubled teen and is causing her multiple headaches. His views on immigrants are veering very close to blatant racism but Neil sees it all as harmless fun. Donna does not agree with the comments forthcoming from both her husband and son, and her daughter, Jodie, is extremely outspoken about their nasty and venomous ‘jokes’. Jodie is embarrassed by her father and disgusted with her younger brother’s intolerance and overall attitude.
Jodie gets the train to college everyday where she studies fashion design. Rachid gets the train to college everyday where he is starting his studies in music production. Sylvie gets the train everyday to work, as does Donna. Two sets of complete strangers whose paths are about to get tangled up in the most unexpected and life-changing way.
The day Rachid first sees Jodie he is instantly smitten by her. The colour of her hair, her skin, the way she wears her clothes, all immediately sear into his heart and mind. This is a girl he needs to know.
“I can’t help but notice because she’s so different from all the other girls I know. And I Like different.”
Jodie and Rachid develop a friendship that quickly becomes more. Both know that neither’s family will readily accept their relationship so initially they keep it a secret, which in many ways adds to the excitement. But as their love deepens, Rachid’s circumstances change and decisions need to be made with neither foreseeing what awaits them.
The love between Jodie and Rachid is a sweet and innocent one, set against an increasingly divided society, where hatred and violence are nurtured. Sylvie and Donna struggle to keep their families together but are both faced with many challenging obstacles that keep pulling on their resources and resolve.
In Little Stars takes the reader on a poignant and bittersweet journey with a very authentic cast of characters that will pull at every heartstring. The sweet innocence of young love is beautifully depicted against an undercurrent of violence that is always throbbing gently throughout. Linda Green has captured the struggles of people from different walks of life, painting a truthful picture of modern day living with all the horrors that it can bring but she also imbues hope for a better future.
Emotional and extremely impactful, In Little Stars is rightfully described as ‘a modern day Romeo and Juliet’.
I will leave you with these sage words from Linda Green –
‘What we can all do is be better allies, to listen to, give space to and amplify the voices of those people affected. To ensure everyone in our country feels welcome. To call out racial abuse and hostility to immigrants, refugees and those born in different countries. In short, to stand up and step forward.”
[ Bio ]
Linda Green is the bestselling author of ten novels, which have sold more than a million copies between them. Her latest novel, One Moment, was a Radio 2 Book Club selection, and her previous novel, The Last Thing She Told Me, was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and a Top 20 Sunday Times bestseller.
She lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and son.
Twitter ~ @LindaGreenisms