by Emily Henry
Published by: Berkley
Publish Date: 2022
Genre(s): Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Books About Books
HB&W Rating: 4
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Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
I really enjoyed this book! It was a great, light-hearted read. There was so much I loved about this book, I have a whole (Nora approved) list.
The first thing that struck me immediately is the writing itself. It was quick, clever and downright hilarious. The back and forth banter often reminded me of Gilmore Girls, and the small town that the book takes place in had a total Stars Hollow vibe to it, even down to the town hall meeting that Nora attended for pure entertainment purposes just like Lorelei. I was hooked!
It’s also another favorite sub-category of mine, books about books, and it was done in such a fun way! Nora, a book agent by trade, pokes fun at the common big city MC falls in love with small town love interest trope. Lo and behold, her sister has arranged such a story for Nora, who usually plays the foil in her own love life. As much fun as she pokes at this trope, its obvious that this book indeed follows that formula, with a few modifications.
Nora is a fantastic character! I love that she is a strong and independent woman, a shark of an agent who isn’t afraid to go for the jugular to get the best deal for her clients, and someone who cares and looks after those she cares about with the same tenacity she puts into her work. I think Henry did a great job showing the double standard women face as compared to a man with the same qualities. Also, I loved that unlike many of the men in this type of trope who complain about country life, Nora doesn’t whine about it, just gets on with it. I also adore that Charlie accepts and loves Nora for all these things, including her “nightmare brain.”
I loved the chemistry between Nora and Charlie, even when they were archrivals (yup, it’s also the enemies to lovers trope), the tension was a live wire. Their banter and sarcasm made me laugh out loud pretty much every page for the first half of the book. I read in bed and kept shaking with laughter so much I was afraid I was going to wake HBW Hubby beside me. Oops! Then when things start to heat up, it gets pretty hot. Enough to satisfy people there for the heat and not so much as to take away from the point of the story, which is about the way they heal one another and free each other from perceived notions they had about themselves. Also, race car bed.
The only thing I didn’t quite buy into was the sisters’ relationship. The use of the pet name “sissy” struck me as juvenile and saccharine, not something grown women would use regularly to address one another at any time except nostalgically. The angst resulting from their parent/child- instead of sister-relationship was a bit drawn out for me, making the latter half of the book really drag.
Still, I loved the book and was truly pleased at the changes to the small town love affair trope that Henry made with this book. If you’re looking for a funny, feminist, light-hearted romcom, this one is a can’t miss!
Until next time, happy reading!
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