Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy

Title - Bright Stars
Author - Sophie Duffy
Publication Date - October 1st 2015
Publisher - Legend Times Group
Format - Paperback (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 302

Four students are involved in a tragedy that rips their friendship apart. What happens when they are reunited 25 years later?

Cameron Spark's life is falling apart. He is separated from his wife, and awaiting a disciplinary following an incident in the underground vaults of Edinburgh where he works as a Ghost Tour guide. On the day he moves back home to live with his widowed dad, he receives a letter from Canada. It is from Christie.

Twenty-five years earlier, Cameron attends Lancaster University and despite his crippling shyness, makes three unlikely friends: Christie, the rich Canadian, Tommo, the wannabe rock star and Bex, the feminist activist who has his heart. In a whirlwind of alcohol, music, and late night protests, Cameron feels as though he's finally living; until a horrific accident shatters their friendship and alters their futures forever. Christie's letter offers them a reunion after all these years. But has enough time passed to recover from the lies, the guilt, and the mistakes made on that tragic night? Or is this one ghost too many for Cameron?

Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy. Where do I begin? Reading this novel has dragged me through an utter whirlwind of emotions, from beginning to end. This is the first book by Sophie Duffy that I have read and I was pleasantly surprised, because after reading the blurb, it didn't sound like the sort of thing which I'd usually go for. Turns out that a change, sometimes, is exactly what you need, and I'm so glad I didn't turn away from Bright Stars. Within these 302 pages, a whole myriad of themes were explored, making this novel a really meaty read, one you can really get your bookish teeth into.

In a nutshell, Bright Stars introduces us to Cameron Spark who, as the novel begins, is invited to an event alongside three friends, Christie, Bex and Tommo, whom Cameron met in Lancaster University 1983. Throughout Bright Sparks, Sophie Duffy flicks back and forth between the past and present, allowing us an insight into not only their university days, but into the very first days of the forming friendship between the four of them too. These moments, where the author took me back to the past, were my favourite, because Cameron's personality really shone through, much more than it does in the present day. We're given a glimpse into how he crossed paths with Bex, Tommo and Christie, and we also get to watch as the different relationships between the four of them are formed. But it becomes clear pretty soon after that things are not as perfect as they appear, and the author begins to subtly add the cracks to the surfaces. I was utterly intrigued, and each time Sophie Duffy whipped me back to the present day, I found myself almost desperate with eagerness to get back to see what would happen with them next. 

Sophie Duffy has such a unique, fresh and original writing style, a style that somehow manages to capture everything that Cameron Spark is perfectly. Blunt and to the point, it made my reading of Bright Sparks incredibly enjoyable, and I couldn't get enough of the punchy dialogue, truly reminiscent of university students just hanging out with mates. What I also thoroughly enjoyed was the building-up of intrigue, mystery and how the author had me playing a guessing game with her characters and their circumstances. I was so ridiculously desperate to find out what had happened between the friends that had Cameron feeling so iffy about the invitation which he'd received at the beginning of the novel. 

Sophie's characters were wonderfully developed, although I can't strictly say that I took a keen liking to any of them really. I found them all very flawed and cracked in their own ways but I suppose more than liking them, I was interested in them. I wanted to know all about them, their histories, about their families, and thankfully Sophie Duffy delivered this exceptionally well. I also appreciated how none of these characters seemed to unbelievable to me. In fact, they all felt very real. This only made me enjoy this novel all the more, and when the tragedy took place, I couldn't turn those pages quick enough. It was addictive, my need to figure out the past behind these characters and how they were linked together.

Overall, Becca's Books is awarding Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy with four gorgeous cupcakes! A fantastically crafted-novel that held almost too much intrigue if that's possible. I couldn't reach the end quick enough, and I'll definitely be reading more from Sophie Duffy in the future. Thanks to Legend Press for getting in touch in regards to reading and reviewing Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy, and for providing me with a physical copy.

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