Aussie Book Review: The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R. Lyster

starsThe Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R. Lyster

Paperback (Uncorrected proof copy)

Review copy provided by publisher

Harlequin Mira, August 2013

Synopsis- A modern-day Romeo and Juliet set amongst the beauty of Byron Bay and the grind of Sydney.

Rip and Sahara have always been together. Primary school friends to high school lovers, their ties to each other are as intertwined and inescapable as the roots of the Byron Strangler Fig. But like that same tree, the tendrils of their love are beginning to stifle and choke, and soon, Sahara finds she must leave — moving to Sydney to pursue her career as an artist.

In Sydney, Sahara draws the attention of Sean, a charismatic entrepreneur, and is quickly drawn into his expensive and glamorous world — so very different from the quiet, simple place of her youth. But even as she creates a new life, and a new version of herself, Sahara cannot seem to leave Rip behind.

Back in the Byron hinterland, Rip moves to a working farm to recover from the wounds Sahara left. It’s here that he begins to understand his past and reimagine his future. But as Rip rebuilds, Sahara unravels, losing herself in Sean’s shiny, but meaningless world and plagued by visions of her previous life and lover.

Heartbreaking and haunting, The Inevitability of Stars is a poignant novel about the burden of fate, the viscosity of reality and the resilience of love.

Review- In the media release, The Inevitability of Stars is described as a modern day Romeo and Juliet story as it’s a story of young, unrequited love and the burden of fate.

Sahara and Rip were childhood best friends, high school lovers but as young adults they both have plans for their future that couldn’t be more different. Sahara is a free spirit; she’s an artist and wants to travel the world. Rip enjoys the simple life in his coastal hometown of Byron Bay and wants to marry Sahara. Sahara can’t bear a future living in Byron, married with kids for the rest of her life, so she enrols in art school in Sydney leaving behind a broken-hearted Rip. Rip is so devastated by the loss of Sahara and the prospect of nothing else to look forward to in life he makes a suicide attempt. The story continues in dual viewpoints with Sahara’s life unravelling in Sydney as she becomes involved with an older man and caught up in drugs while Rip undertakes a spiritual journey to find meaning in his life without Sahara.

Technically it is a beautifully written story, but I must admit it did take some time for me to feel drawn in. I was tempted to give up early on as the magical feel of the storytelling held me at a distance from the characters. But once I got used to the dialogue (written in italic without speech marks which I kept reading as the characters internal thoughts!) and once the story got underway and I could see where the author was trying to go I did start to feel myself being drawn into the story at an emotional level. This didn’t happen until about 150 pages in though (the half way mark) so I’m glad I persevered with this story.

Sahara wasn’t someone I could really relate to in the beginning. I understood her desire to spread her wings, but I felt the way she handled the end of their relationship was insensitive and many times she came across as quite selfish and self-absorbed. I didn’t really agree with the path she took in terms of becoming involved with the older man and then experimenting with drugs, but I could connect with her vulnerability and her grief when she learns (incorrectly) that Rip has died. It takes some time to see any growth in her character but when it does come about its very satisfying. Rip is also a character difficult to relate to. In some ways I really empathised with him and his loss but on the other hand he really doesn’t have much sense of self or a purpose in life that doesn’t involve Sahara, which was a little sad. When the story allowed the reader to connect with Rip, I enjoyed his viewpoint, but when the story went off on spiritual journeys I found myself getting a little lost.

By the end of the story I did enjoy the journey I had been taken on, even though it was difficult reading at times. The ending left me feeling both hopeful and disappointed; I had wanted a more tangible closure. I loved that the author set the story in both Sydney and Byron Bay and the story didn’t end up being anything what I had expected at the outset. Overall, The Inevitability of Stars is a novel that takes the reader on a journey along with the characters and can be read in one or two sittings.

Overall Rating


“I really liked this”

This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge:



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