Published by HarperCollins Australia on April 1st 2015
Falling in love was the easy part ...
Chloe is weeks away from college when she embarks on a grand European adventure with her boyfriend and two best friends. Their destination is Barcelona, with its promise of romance and mystery, but first they must detour through the historic cities of Eastern Europe to settle an old family debt.
As they traverse the unfamiliar landscape of the post-Communist world, Chloe meets a boy on a train who is going off to war. Johnny carries a guitar, an easy smile - and a lifetime of secrets.
The trip becomes a treacherous journey into Europe's and Johnny's darkest past - a journey that threatens to shatter the bonds holding together four lifelong friends.
From Riga to Treblinka to Trieste, Chloe must face her deepest desires colliding with the future she thought she wanted.
For Chloe and Johnny only one thing is certain: whatever their destination, their lives will never be the same.
It hurts me a little to give this book only 3 stars. Paullina Simons is one of my most adored authors, and I am always excited to get my hands on her latest release. Lone Star fell disappointingly short of what I’ve come to expect from Simons. The story was slow starting and the narration frustrated me – particularly when the multiple character point of views came into play. Perhaps it’s just me, but if multiple POV’s are not going to be consistent from beginning to end, they shouldn’t be used at all. I find if the narration style changes abruptly in the middle of the book, I feel as if I’ve fallen out of step. This was particularly the case with Lone Star, especially keeping one character’s chapters in third person and the others in first person. It feels sloppy and makes it difficult (for me at least) to get absorbed in the story.
The story itself was enjoyable. It wasn’t the type of story that kept me up at night, telling myself “just one more chapter” multiple times, but it did keep my attention. It was incredibly slow-starting with a lot of mundane details that could’ve been cut from the book. However, it takes a turn for the better in the middle of the book, which details Chloe and her friends’ Europe adventures (or should I say misadventures as it often turns out),. The ending felt like it was lacking something. Considering how lengthy and detailed the rest of the story was, and considering most of the story was a build up for the ending, it just felt rushed. Almost like Simons had lost interest and was just tying up all the loose ends.
This story is more of a coming of age story than the “unforgettable love story” it’s branded as. Don’t get me wrong, the love story within the story is beautiful and everything you would expect from Simons, but the book is so much more than just that. It’s about family, friendships, the transition between being a teenager and entering adulthood and the joys and heartache that come with that self-discovery. The historical aspects of this book deserve a mention too. One of the things I love most about Simons books is her ability to weave history into them in a way which is both beautiful and impacting.
Overall, not the best work that Paullina Simons has produced, but still (mostly) beautifully written.