Rachel Janssen is a medical physics student with a huge celebrity crush on actress Cate Whitney. It just so happens that Whitney is shooting a movie – a steampunk interpretation of Marie Curie’s life, titled Clockwork Curie – right below Rachel’s Vancouver apartment. After her roommate dares her to approach her crush, Rachel ends up on her hands and knees before the star. Her knowledge of Curie’s work comes in handy since Cate has questions. One thing leads to another and before she knows it, Rachel is catching feelings as the seemingly-straight older woman flirts in an increasingly open way.
As sometimes happens, I liked this story a lot more by the end than I did when I started reading it. It reads like Cate Blanchett fanfiction and I’m having trouble deciding whether that’s a problem or not. I didn’t check the synopsis closely when I added this book to my TBR, and the actress’s name didn’t register. I may be totally wrong but Cate on top of “if someone were to poll all lesbians and ask them to rank their top celebrity crushes, she would win the popular vote” screams Cate Blanchett to me, and do I need to mention how Whitney looks like a variation on Blanchett? Don’t get me wrong, I love Cate Blanchett and I would never judge a celebrity crush but the introduction felt a tad lazy. Alluding to a real person and letting our collective lust do the heavy lifting isn’t what I look for in the books I read. From then on, the author had to work just that bit harder to get me into the story. It took until I reached the second half. Not that the first one was bad, but I wasn’t overly excited either and Rachel’s stalker-like attitude at the beginning didn’t help.
The second half, however, was much more to my taste, the pace picked up, all sorts of things happened. The chemistry between the two MCs is fantastic and I enjoyed their scenes together a lot. The age gap is real (Rachel is twenty-three, Cate is forty-one) but never an issue, and it allows for tender moments, like the scene in which Rachel tells Cate that she was instrumental in her coming out when she was a teenager. The interactions between them are the best part of the book. Their reunion after the requisite 80% black moment is spectacular and for a second, it felt like the movie from the book had come to life.
If you’re in the mood for an age-gap celebrity romance, check this one out. 3.5⭐️
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