Aussie Book Review: Stand-In Star by Rachael Johns

stand in Stand-In Star by Rachael Johns


Review copy provided by publisher/ netgalley

Carina Press, January 2013

 Synopsis- As an anthropologist, Holly McCartney is more comfortable in a museum than shopping on Rodeo Drive. She isn’t prepared for the media frenzy on her arrival in L.A. to accept a posthumous acting award for her late sister….or for her sister’s gorgeous friend Nate Devlin to come to her rescue. Though he resents her for some reason, she can’t fight their irresistible chemistry—especially when the paparazzi force her to stay at his mansion.

Photographer Nate only agrees to help Holly survive Hollywood for her sister’s sake, but she soon gets under his skin in a way no other woman has. The more time he spends with her, the more his attraction grows and he finds himself opening up to her in ways he never expected. But will ghosts of the past stand in the way of their perfect Hollywood ending?

 Review- Stand-In Star is a contemporary romance story, a little different to the rural romances I’ve read by Rachael Johns in the past. In her latest release with Carina Press, Holly McCartney leaves behind Australia for L.A where she intends to accept an acting award for her sister who died six months prior.

A cultural anthropologist and estranged from her sister Daisy for three years, Holly has avoided all things glam and fame, determined not to remain in her older sister’s shadow. But the moment she steps off the plane at LAX, she realises that remaining under the radar is going to be a lot more difficult than she thought. Until handsome photographer and ex-lover of Daisy, Nate Devlin arrives and rescues her from the paparazzi. Once a pap now a glamour photographer, Nate has made has made his mark in Hollywood along with a reputation for meaningless flings.

With just one week in LA, Holly intends to make the most of her time abroad but without Nate’s help she won’t be able to see any of the sights without the paparazzi snapping her every move. The chemistry between them is instant but conflicted. Holly has no intention of being Nate’s second choice, not that she believes she’s attractive to him anyway. And for Nate, he is loyal to his best friend, Daisy who was devastated by the falling out with her sister.

As their attraction grows, Nate and Holly act on their impulses and agree on a no-strings-attached fling. Without intending to, the couple become emotionally intimate in conjunction with their bedtime shenanigans and inevitably risk their hearts.

Stand-In Star is a fun, light-hearted romantic comedy by Australian author, Rachael Johns. I enjoyed the prospect of a naive Australian woman arriving in the big smoke and being saved by a hunky yank. I also thought the way in which the author explored Holly and Daisy’s relationship, without presenting Daisy as some heartless floozy. There was a depth to her that Holly discovered and was finally able to find peace in the passing of her sister and the difficulties in the past they shared. Though I feel the characterisation is much stronger in Johns’ rural novels, I accept that this story has a different purpose. It’s solely focussed on the relationship development between Nate and Holly while they discover something new about themselves in the process. There were times when I would’ve preferred to be shown rather than told about the depths of their personality, but it’s a lot to ask in a novella-length story.

What I did love about Stand-In Star (and didn’t expect) was to observe the conservative and self-conscious Holly find a confidence within herself both as a woman and in her sexual curiosity. Nate was a loveable hero; loyal with an underlying vulnerability that endeared to Holly. The ending was romantic and suitably set back in Australia. I don’t doubt Stand-In Star will appeal to both Australian readers and those abroad. An enjoyable, quick and pleasant read.

Overall Rating


“I really liked this”

Stand-In Star can be purchased from Amazon and other leading ebook retailers

This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge:


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