How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer: Review

how to tell toledo from the night sky by lydia netzer
Title: How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky
Author: Lydia Netzer
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 2014
Length: 352 pages
Series: Stand Alone
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: ARC

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From GoodReads:

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.

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is a tale about opposites attracting. Two women make a pact to create a circumstance in which their children are bound to fall in love. The women have a falling out and 30 or so years later, the two children meet. George and Irene find themselves drawn to each other and do not know why. 

I decided to pick up How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky, because my husband is an astronomer and I was in the mood for a quirky romance. Also, I loved the book cover. Isn't the cover gorgeous? This book was not at all what I was expecting. I think this is a good thing, but I am still not sure. How to Tell is written in a magical realism style. The story didn't feel grounded with hard edges. I felt like I was gliding down a quiet river on an inner tube more than reading a contemporary novel. I ended up reading this book in one sitting, because I felt like I was in a dream and didn't want it to end. Because the book was written in this dream-like style, I was not bothered by the fact that many events in the story seemed quite convenient. Everything in the story came together just like it would in a dream (yes, I realize I am using the word dream a lot).

Normally I enjoy books that use magical realism; however, I found this book a bit tricky to enjoy because of my husband and his astronomy background. Astronomy research doesn't work exactly how Netzer describes it in her book, and it was hard for me to enjoy these parts of the book because I know real astronomers. I really wish that the field that George and Irene studied was not astronomy, because I kept finding myself pulled out of the story due to some of the inaccuracies. At the same time, these things that bother me will not bother the average reader.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book, but I didn't love it. The story was interesting; however, I went into the story with certain expectations and the expectations were not met. This was not the book's fault. I did not realize that Netzer is known for her magical realism writing style. If I had known, I would have expected a softer book that was not so realistic. I want to give this book a reread when I am in the mood for a "rounded edge" book with a touch of magic.

I give this book a 3 out of 5.

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