This was my first Emily Henry book after hearing so many good things about her contemporary romances. The thing everyone raves the most about? Her character banter and “Book Lovers” definitely delivered on that front! We follow a shark of a literary agent, Nora, as she tries to bridge the invisible gap between her and her baby sister with a semi-spontaneous month-long trip to the very location her best selling client based HER romance book on. Once there, Nora runs into the grumpy editor who she is convinced hates her after he passed on her client’s book. Cue small town romance! The very thing Nora says will never happen to her. This book is incredibly meta in regards to its story, and it was a little odd (in a good way) to read about two people in the publishing business as an author myself—it was fun but also plays into the self-aware nature this book is steeped with. But this book felt more like a family drama than a romance.
Front and center of this story is not Nora and Charlie’s romantic tension the way I originally believed it would be. Instead, most of the time this book seems to focus most heavily on the relationship between Nora and her sister, Libby. The story teases out how and why this rift appeared between them, what happened to their mom that led to Nora’s sleeping issues, and why does she seem so traumatized by her ex-boyfriend, which is ALSO tied up in something related to her sister. Because so much focus was on what was happening between the sisters and repairing that relationship, there wasn’t a ton of room for Nora and Charlie, which I guess makes sense because Nora and Charlie are pretty perfect for each other so while there is initial tension, it goes away pretty fast and ends up being more of them flirting with each other in between finding the right time to start something. They’re both a bit grumpy, so this isn’t a grumpy-sunshine romance, however the banter between the two of them fully makes up for that! Honestly, I see so much of myself in Charlie that the Leo in me was wondering why Nora didn’t fall for him sooner!
But I really wanted to read this for the romance and, given the books length, I didn’t get enough of that compared to what I got with Nora and Libby. I guess I just wasn’t expecting the book to really be so split between those two very different scenarios and, honestly, with that split the interpersonal issues with Nora and Libby never felt like they were explored in a way that their baggage required so what I was left with was a book that read like two different stories. When we did get the romantic bits, I really did enjoy them though; there just wasn’t enough of that either which is why I’m giving this 3 stars. It was thoroughly ok with the fun banter doing most of the heavy lifting. I’ll definitely read this author again though, her characters are all a lot of fun! It’s just this particular story line didn’t wow me.
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