Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Swearing Off Stars” as Want to Read:
Swearing Off Stars
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Swearing Off Stars

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Amelia Cole--Lia for short--is one of the first women studying abroad at Oxford University in the 1920s. Finally free from her overbearing Brooklyn parents, she finds a welcome sense of independence in British college life--and quickly falls for Scarlett Daniels, an aspiring actress and hardheaded protester. Scarlett introduces her to an exciting gender-equality movement, ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by She Writes Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Swearing Off Stars, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Swearing Off Stars

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  259 ratings  ·  45 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Swearing Off Stars
"Swearing Off Stars" is about a sapphic love story that takes place between 1919 and 1950. Unfortunately, it's not a super happy read where we get the benefit of a romance that has the couple getting together in 1919 and staying together. No, this is one where the love endures despite the couple having reasons to be apart.

This review may have partial spoilers but, for readers of lesbian fiction, I want to spell out what the read entails since lesbian fiction has a tragic history.

The vibe of the
Mel (Epic Reading)
Dec 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF - 60%

It begins solid
Author Danielle Wong begins by setting up a wonderful story in the 1920s of a young woman attending university. Now at this time in history women could attend university but not receive actual degrees or formally recognized education. An awkward time for women. Made more awkward for our lead lady as she discovers she's a lesbian and falls in love.
This is a dangerous time for gays and only gets more dangerous as WWII approaches and Hitler's persecution of anyone not like
The Book Maven
Oct 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Basic summary: Two women—Lia and Scarlett-- meet at Oxford University after World War I and fall in love. They eventually part ways because lesbianism wasn’t really an approved way to live life. Lia moves back to America and becomes a workaholic journalist; Scarlett goes on to become a closeted movie star. Throughout their lives, they come together and fall away; theirs is, at its heart, a “the love that got away until it was almost too late” story. Now: do yourself a favor and, having read this ...more
Ankita Singh
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review!

Swearing Off Stars was the love story of two girls, Amelia and Scarlett.

The novel made me laugh, cry, grin like a fool and fall in love. In short, it did everything an awesome novel is supposed to do.

I loved that Amelia was so insistent about making it work out and hated that Scarlett didn't even have the guts to try!

The author's writing style and descriptions were just beautiful. I had a lot of
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was quite different from what I was expecting. I thought it would be similar to the historical fiction of Sarah Waters or Emma Donoghue, but this focused more on the romance than the history.

The story had good moments and was fun in a melodramatic way, but it was way too rushed. Whenever I was about to connect with what the characters were going through, all of a sudden we'd jump years ahead in time. I think I get what th
Emma Himmelhoch
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
If we are being honest the only reason I finished this whole book, is because it's so short. This is nonsense problematic book... lesbian love story that yet again ends in unnecessary tragedy. I was so excited because it was promoted as an LGBT historical romance. Instead it was just a long drag through an emotionally abusive relationship that ends with one of them dying. Why can't we have a story about two women falling in love in a healthy way and like they both get to live? ...more
Melissa Borsey
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I won a copy of this book from Cindy Roesel's blog giveaway. I feel like it could have been a good story but I just couldn't get into it. ...more
Norma Nikutowski
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story begins in 1919. Lia studies at Oxford University away from her overbearing American parents. She meets and discovers her love for Scarlett, a beautiful women’s right activist and aspiring actress. Scarlett lives in fear of their relationship being discovered because she wants to be a star. They agree to keep their love secret. The relationship falls apart until years later they are drawn together again.

Danielle Wong takes us into the hearts and minds of the characters and we see how t
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Swearing Off Stars is about a young American named Amelia, called Lia, in England to attend a semester of university in the 1920s. There she meets Scarlet, a beautiful aspiring actress and activist, who is part of a group pushing to allow women to actually matriculate and earn degrees. Lia joins the group, finding purpose in the gender equality group and finding love with Scarlet. However, Scarlet lives in fe
Oct 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Posed as a romance set in the 1920s, about a girl becoming a woman in the early stages of the feminist movement, this was more like a water-cooler conversation in language. Devoid of much research into the times, the characters use phrases and language of today and the author tells rather than shows non-stop. Even the easiest research into feminist history was broad brushed and lacking any substance whatsoever. If the main point of this story was the relationship between the two women, one would ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-reads
This book was not well written but the plot draws you in quickly. There are probably a million period inaccuracies in the book, but if let yourself you'll fall for the characters and suspend disbelief. Would not read again, but it was a fun (gay) beach read. ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, lgbt, romance, dnf
Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Amelia Cole, Lia for short, is an American attending Oxford University for a semester in 1919. On her first day she meets Scarlett Daniels, a beautiful women's rights activist and aspiring actress, who pulls Lia into the movement. The two slowly fall in love, but have to overcome decades of obstacles to be together.

I'm not going to lie, I was disappointed, and very much in a phase of reading where I had no patience for weakness in books. An
Rebecca Baker
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
To put it bluntly, this book is not that great. And I really wanted to like it.

Short Version: if you want to read a lesbian romance novel, skip this book and read anything by Sarah Waters.

**This review contains minor spoilers**

I went into it expecting a really compelling story considering this is a story about two lesbians in the 1920s through the 1950s. With all the political turmoil and social taboo that homosexuality could cause you'd expect this book to be a kid in the candy store for Dani
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Lia and Scarlett meet in 1919 in Oxford where they bond over their fight for women to be allowed to graduate from Oxford, same as the men. Their friendship blossoms into love, which is scary as it is wonderful. Scary wins out and Lia runs back to New York where she finishes college and works her way up the ladder to manage a mid-range newspaper. Scarlett on the other hand becomes a well known actress. But true love will always find a way, and over many years and across many oceans, two people de ...more
Reader Views
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (1/18)

“Swearing Off Stars” by Danielle M. Wong tells the spellbinding tale of secret love and gender equality. When Lia leaves her strict family home in Brooklyn to be a student at Oxford University, she has no clue how her life will change. In the 1920’s, Oxford University was not a welcome place for female students. They could attend classes but were allowed no voice in class or a degree.

When Lia meets Scarlett Daniels on campus, she is immediately dra
Claire Matturro
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Swearing Off Stars,” by Danielle M. Wong, is a poignant, tender love story with a historical aspect. Beautifully written, heart-felt and filled with emotion, it’s a tale about a young woman—Lia, short for Amelia—who goes off to college and meets the love of her life. What makes this story different, and therefore fresh, is that Lia is an American who goes off to the University at Oxford in England in 1919. And the love of her life that she meets there is Scarlett, a beautiful aspiring actress a ...more
Anna Ehler
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful LGBT Romance about two young woman which takes place through the 1920's to 1950's. this book is eloquently written and tells the age old story of love knowing no bounds.
That all being said, I am just a smidge disappointed with this book due to the lack of the historical fiction element. I found that though there was telling signs of the time such as occasional references to clothing, the women's movement, and discussions of homosexuality. But it seemed to be missing things such as th
Diana Paul
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Swearing Off Stars opens in 1919, and covers over thirty years. This story belongs to Lia--a young, rather naive student at Oxford University, away for the first time from conservative, rather provincial American parents. She meets and discovers Scarlett, a drama student and feminist at a time when women were only allowed to attend classes, not matriculate. Living in fear that their budding romantic relationship will damage (and possibly endanger) their lives, they are determined to keep their l ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
A meandering plot with characters who flip flop. Starts with a chapter that seems to be a glimpse at something that will happen in the end but it happens 1/6th of the way through the book and is not relevant to the overall story. Scarlett's chapters bring 0 new information. Over the top coincidences and convenient character twists.

The worst offender for me was that so many characters brought up the desire for two women to be able to get married. Anachronistic. Literally zero queers would have wa
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Swearing Off Stars by Danielle Wong is a journey through the beginning of a relationship and tracking it’s progress decades down the line. The way Wong wrote but Amelia and Scarlett made me want more. It was beautifully written. I felt for all the characters from the ‘20s to the 50s.

It’s be a while since I’ve read something that’s made me hurt as the character was hurting but Lia’s innocent, unsure and the heartbreak she experiences, it was like a knife to the heart in some parts. There were ti
Valerie Acklin
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A coming-of-age/coming-out story that started off with strong storyline and compelling characters, is cheapened by a stereotypical ending of lesbian unhappiness. The book follows the life of Lia, picking up as she heads of to England in the early '20s as one of the first women to study at Oxford, where she meets the love of her life, Scarlett. An intriguing time to be a woman and a dangerous one to be a lesbian, there is potential for an engrossing read, here. But the timeline frustratingly jump ...more
Feb 09, 2021 rated it did not like it
I almost didn't finish this book out of sheer boredom. The story felt like it went nowhere, the author had clearly not researched the time period the novel was set in. Which I guess is fine to read if you know nothing about 1920-1950. The book perspectives switches between the two protagonists whose voices are indistinguishable from each other. For people who apparently come from two entirely different backgrounds (Lia is a journalist, Scarlett and actress) this I found to be sloppy and lazy wri ...more
Kyle Merryman
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fundamentally, Swearing Off Stars isn’t a history lesson. It tracks a vibrant relationship that flourishes and falls into turmoil. It is brave enough to follow each trial, each reconciliation; the work required to weather time and the folly of clinging to permanence.

The setting supports these themes. Striving for equality, every aspect of it, in the early 20th century. Traveling to find something more than is present. Pursuing a life at odds with the state of the world.

What stuck out to me is D
Starting 2021 off strong... I don’t often give 1 star reviews, but I actually hated this. It was a solid 2 star until the ending, which sank it for me. I won’t spoil it; I’ll just say I don’t understand why, what was the point?

Anyway, the rest of it was not great. We follow the main character, Lia, from college to middle age, from 1919 to the 1950s, and her struggles with relationships, sexism, and homophobia. I hated her, and found it incredibly difficult to empathise when she would do things o
Sep 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Right off the bat, I have to say that Danielle M. Wong’s Swearing Off Stars is a hugely frustrating book. It tells the story of Lia Cole and Scarlett Daniels as they struggle to have a romantic relationship in a world that emphatically does not approve of homosexuality. We follow them from the day they meet in 1919 to 1949 as they meet and part and chase each other between England, the United States, and Hong Kong. Though they love each other, Scarlett just can’t believe that they be together... ...more
Whitney Sheree
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I wish I could give this book 20 plus stars. Oh my god this book was such a beautiful romance set in the 1920's between two woman that fall in love. Their love is beautiful, real, pure and true I fell in love with Lia and Scarlett from the very start to the very last page. I also shed quite a lot of tears. I am telling you this book is incredible and so damn Beautiful. This book changed my life I am so glad I got to witness the beautiful, life changing romance between these two women. As a lesbi ...more
Cindy Stein
The book begins after WWI when Lia, an American student, spends a year at Oxford and meets Scarlett, a Brit. Lia is entranced by Scarlett and is soon drafted into a women's rights cause to persuade Oxford to allow female students to matriculate. When the two become lovers, Scarlett pulls away, knowing that the world could never accept them.

This begins a series of second chances between the two that make up the bulk of the rest of the book. The Oxford chapters are the best written and the rest fe
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I enjoyed this book until about halfway through and that's when everything starts declining. The pacing is weird, even if I understand what the author is trying to do. There are little details that just get slipped in that take you out of the story and I only continued reading so that I could say I finished this. Scarlet was likeable and the fact that it turned into a bury your gays trope really cemented my dislike for it. I can't bring myself to feel anything for the characters in the e
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story is beautifully and eloquently written and the characters are well portrayed. It would have been great to have a bit more of a historical background and historical elements in the book. I enjoyed the message of love can overcome everything and the feminist message in it is good. It plays in 1920 to 1950 so the role of women and what they could do and homosexuality as a general we’re very different and it was written out well.
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
(spoilers ahead)

Started off alright, but quickly telegraphed to an all-to-common "I can't really be with you until it's too late" lesbian novel. I also kept thinking an editor had asked her to just add tons of adjectives, willy-nilly. It was an odd read, and the time-jumps didn't help. If you can write a lesbian romance in 2017, why would you lean so hard on tropes of one woman dying? Super annoying. It was a pretty quick read at least. Read for a lesbian book club.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Adventurers
  • Heart of Ice
  • When You Least Expect It
  • Heart's Desire
  • Yes, You
  • Mutual Benefits
  • Kismet
  • Something Far Away and Happy
  • The Woman in 3B
  • The Setup
  • Standby Counsel
  • One Man Guy (One Man Guy, #1)
  • No Strings Attached (The Pink Bean, #1)
  • Those Who Wait
  • Heart of Gold (Heart, #1)
  • Openly Straight (Openly Straight, #1)
  • Fitting In
  • The Scent of Rome
See similar books…
Danielle Wong is an author living in California. Her debut novel, Swearing Off Stars, received an Independent Press Award, a Benjamin Franklin Award, and an International Book Award, among others.

Danielle’s writing has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, The Huffington Post, and Writer’s Digest. She has short stories published in the Be the Star You Are!® series, and is currently working on her next n

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
27 likes · 5 comments