In grey, 1930s England, Bea has grown up kicking against the conventions of the time, all the while knowing that she will one day have to marry someone her parents choose – someone rich enough to keep the family estate alive. But she longs for so much more – for adventure, excitement, travel, and maybe even romance.
When she gets the chance to spend the summer in Italy with her bohemian uncle and his fiancée, a whole world is opened up to Bea – a world that includes Ben, a cocky young artist who just happens to be infuriatingly handsome too. Sparks fly between the quick-witted pair until one night, under the stars, a challenge is set: can Bea and Ben put aside their teasing and have the perfect summer romance?
With their new friends gleefully setting the rules for their fling, Bea and Ben can agree on one thing at least: they absolutely, positively will not, cannot fall in love…
A long, hot summer of kisses and mischief unfolds – but storm clouds are gathering across Europe, and home is calling. Every summer has to end – but for Bea, this might be just the beginning.
Every time I read a Laura Wood book, I find that I’ve deeply underestimated her writing. I read her debut, A Sky Painted Gold last year, and really enjoyed it, and this one was even better. I did enjoy that A Sky Painted Gold was based on The Great Gatsby, whereas Under a Dancing Star is based on Much Ado About Nothing. I don’t really know the Shakespeare story well, but it definitely didn’t take away from my enjoyment at all.
This book is perfect for summer, and the Italian setting was so beautiful. I could really picture the beautiful house and gardens, and it was so atmospheric. I read this book alongside Courtney and we read it over the course of one summer evening. There couldn’t have been a perfect time or setting (unless we had actually gone to Italy!) to read this book.
The idea is as paper-thin and fragile as the wings of a butterfly,
Bea was such a great main character who felt so relatable despite this book being set almost 100 years ago. I hardly read historical fiction, but Bea jumped off the page and had so much depth to her character. I loved reading about her passion for nature, and the descriptions of plants and wildlife added so much to the reading experience.
The romance was so sweet to read about and I loved Ben and Bea together. Their situation made me chuckle at times but the dates were so swoony to read and I love that they had shared experiences. The banter between them felt quite natural and was entertaining to read.
and as it flutters gently awake I hardly dare to hold it still in my mind.
I honestly loved this book and I definitely will be carrying on with Laura Wood’s books – she is the queen of YA historical romance!
5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽