I typically reach for romance novels when I’m in between thrillers. Mysteries, thrillers, true crime – if it’s promising a bone chilling plot twist, I’m in. That said, I’m no expert in the romance/women’s lit/rom-com genre and typically snag one from Book of the Month. (Oh, you need a referral code? Well, here ya go.)
Expected Publication Date: May 19, 2020
The last time I reached for a romance novel (August 2019, if I remember correctly), I was heart-wrenchingly disappointed. Imagine my anguish: trapped in Heathrow Airport armed with nothing but a cringeworthy attempt at a love story.
Emily Henry spares us the embarrassment and provided us Beach Read. She has accomplished the nearly impossible and written a love story I would want people to see me reading at the airport.
January Andrews is a women’s lit author with a bad case of writer’s block who finds a temporary escape from her routine in North Bear Shores, Michigan. Unbeknownst to her, her next door neighbor is none other than her college rival, author Augustus Everett. They spark a friendly competition to see if they can tackle each other’s genres in a race to get published first. As they teach each other the ropes, their old rivalry melts into a beautiful romance.
I wanted to hate Augustus (goes by Gus). Like, a lot. You know the type, the brooding, mysterious guy who kinda insults you but is actually trying to compliment you? Gus is almost that guy. He’s brooding, all right, and he’s got a darker past. But the stereotype guy ends up being a huge jerk and breaks the main character’s heart while Gus is genuinely a nice guy. I like that Henry moves away from the norm, writing characters we can grow to love without making us hate them first.
I also wanted to hate January. She’s an almost stereotype herself. The romance writing, happy ending seeking, personality like champagne bubbles type of happy. I suspect deeply that January has untouched, virgin hair. She doesn’t seem the type to dye it. But she has depth, perspective, there’s a reason behind her unwavering positivity. Even a cynic, thriller-obsessed reader like me would love to have January as a friend. Even though I hate her name.
Much like the main character, I was expecting to be a little disappointed and let down like the romance novels of yesteryear. Emily Henry gave the gift of a solid, somewhat believable story that reminds us that the path to love is never clear and easy. We have characters with realistic backgrounds, a story line that doesn’t make me scream “THIS SH*T AGAIN?”, and a setting that makes me dream of going on a vacation pronto. I was hooked after the first chapter, just dying to know where this witty love affair will go.