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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Cross the Stars (Crossing Stars Duet, Book 1) by Venessa Kimball is a suspenseful romance with echoes of Romeo and Juliet. Star-crossed Ella and Raj experience a chance meeting at a D.C. party and think their paths will never cross again. He is Jordanian royalty and she is an American nearing college graduation, out to prove her parents wrong and stay true to her own values and conscience. But when the two do meet again, due to a Syrian relief effort they are both involved in, an earth-moving romance begins between them, and they defy everything and everyone just to be together--family, tradition, position, criticism, danger, etc.
The first book in a series, this original romance brings something fresh to the table. It has everything you would expect in a great romance novel--complete, believable characters, an interesting plot, and of course a heartbreaking, irresistible romance--but there is more. Kimball's writing and phrasing add depth to the conflict, the descriptions and dialogue put you into the scenes as if you are part of the story. As you read, you will feel the draw of both cultures and lives as they collide, and you will be pulled in different directions. But most of all, you'll want this love story to work out for the best. A book can begin with an impossible scenario, but it takes a talented writer like this author to pull it off convincingly and with heart.
From the beginning, you feel like you are caught up in a real-world relationship with real people, not just reading a story in a book. The minor characters add a lot to the story as well. I was moved by Ella and Raj's romance, their dreams, and how their lives intersected. This isn't an assembly-line romance. The characters are living out the social issues of today. Venessa Kimball could be the brand new star of suspense romance. Her writing is magnetic and unpredictable. If you're looking for a romance with substance, lose yourself in Cross the Stars by Venessa Kimball. You'll be looking for the sequel.