Book Lovers, Emily Henry
My unexpected dream read of the summer! I was drawn to this book by its cover (it looks good with my swimwear) and hooked from the beginning, finishing it before I even got on the plane.
Book Lovers is a classic and very clever romcom with antagonistic protagonists who both work in books. Nora is the super cool agent, the ultimate shark for her clients. Charlie is the hotshot editor who turns anything on his list into a bestseller. Both are sworn city people, work over life, deals over desire, New Yorkers til they die. When they both find themselves stuck in the small town which has a starring role in a recent blockbuster from Nora’s hottest author, how will either escape - the twee town of Sunshine Falls, never mind each other?
Brilliantly, Nora herself has lost not one but three past loves to the much-done romcom plot “twist” of serious person leaving the city to find true love and the meaning of life which turns out to mean throwing in their fortunes with the local cheesemaker or spoon carver, turning their backs on capitalism and errant money making in general, before curiously inheriting an empire of classic country inns with more plaid swags and tassels than a Thanksgiving movie from the 1980s.
Emily Henry maintains this conceit of throughout, guiding readers through every known trope of all of our favourite romantic comedies - and seemingly adding to the collection. The only story is for a city girl is to have her expectations confounded by the farmer/beekeeper/artisan coffee guy/caveman and discover what her own cavewoman hormones truly desire, right?
I love how Henry questions the possibilities of a love story given the confines of her chosen genre, but also the way our hearts and minds have been trained - or straitjacketed - into understanding romance and happiness. She asks us to cut her some slack, to suspend disbelief but also relax our addiction to happy endings, or one-note happy endings, if only for a minute…
It is funny and sweet but very smart and brilliant writing throughout. The only thing I’d change about Book Lovers is the way it is so heavily discounted everywhere. Of course I want other to buy and love it, but bargain basement book prices make shoppers undervalue the story, and these types of story in general.