Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine, weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, “Can true love exist if it’s been planned from birth?”
Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation’s premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity.
George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other’s soulmates.
When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.
Lydia Netzer combines a gift for character and big-hearted storytelling, with a sure hand for science and a vision of a city transformed by its unique celestial position, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the heavens. – Goodreads
While How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky is a slow burning book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. For awhile this shocked me, although it never should. Two dear friends enjoyed it: Jen and Estelle and they’ve never steered me wrong! I loved this book. I’m still shocked about how much I enjoyed this novel. How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky is the story of George and Irene. The two of them were made for each other and they had no idea.
Irene had a fairly horrible childhood. She got out of Toledo as soon as she could, because her father was never in her life and her mother was a drunk and Irene could not deal with that anymore, so she left. George on the other hand, stayed in Toledo because while his childhood wasn’t perfect, it was what it was and he was succeeding at being a cosmologist in Toledo. It’s hard to believe that these two were meant for each other, or would ever meet. Then, Irene’s mom dies and she is called back to Toledo.
In a beautiful slow moving story what Netzer shows is that we are not always the product of our development, even if that includes the development of being meant for each other. Irene is very practical and calls bullshit when she finds everything out because she’s had enough, George on the other hand is still in love with her. Nothing changes for him. He still loves her, still believes in fate. Still believes in her. Irene doesn’t know what to believe. She has always, always, always tried to be practical. She had to be, from a young age, the adult in her life and she doesn’t believe in love, flying, or anything but hard science.
There are many ‘unrealistic’ elements that I never once had a problem believing. I was fully invested in this book and if anything, I was annoyed when I had to put it down. What’s hard about this book is describing it without giving major plot points away. But it’s good. It’s so good I stopped after the end of every chapter because I wanted the book to never end and I actually cannot wait to revisit this book in a few years and have the characters welcome me back.