Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Reading A.L. Jackson’s Beneath the Stars is an emotionally visceral experience. In reading the Falling Stars series, I’ve noted time and time again the poetry of Jackson’s style in these books. Once again, in the newest book of the series, she lends poetry to her story. As you read, you are hit in the heart with the vibes or feelings of her characters, and it overwhelms you in the best of ways.
Like her other stories in this series, what you see of her musicians is not their reality. In Beneath the Stars, Rhys’s past threatens to derail any future he might have with Royce’s younger sister, Maggie. Additionally, Maggie has her own secret that has the potential to destroy her life and the lives around her. Like Royce and Richard in the earlier books, Rhys is hiding something and it causes him to deny himself his feelings for Maggie. Much of Beneath the Stars is Rhys’s denial and Maggie’s persistence. Each chapter reveals waves of emotional angst as denial and attraction push and pull these two through Jackson’s story.
What you find by the end of Beneath the Stars is a life lived in lies. Everything you come to believe about Rhys and his past is actually wrong. Jackson makes the interesting choice in this series to take the most jocular and seeming unaffected character and give him the deepest heart for his loved ones. There is a beautiful poetry in Rhys’s characterization. Jackson is also careful in her construction of Maggie given her own trauma. Her insistence in writing scenes about emotional safety feels important.
If I have any criticism of this series at large, it would be the repetitiveness of her characters’ stories. In each one of the Falling Stars books, one of the characters has a secret, and Jackson takes much of the book to reveal it. There is definitely a beauty in the elaboration of these journeys. Jackson makes it clear that these couples are fated, soul mates. For example, in Beneath the Stars, Rhys and Maggie can sense each other’s energies. But Rhys holding his secret close to his vest isn’t different than Richard’s or Royce’s. I would have loved to see a different approach to Rhys and Maggie’s story, if I have to be honest.
Overall, though, Beneath the Stars is a gorgeous read. It will absolutely tug at your heart and put you through your emotional paces. If swoony rockstars are your thing, you’ll want to read A.L. Jackson’s newest Falling Stars story. I’m pretty sure that Rhys is my favorite hero of this series.
In love and romance,