REVIEW: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

In brief: Nora is a literary agent with a tendency to be the one before The One. Charlie is an editor and not Nora’s favourite person. How did they end up in a small town together one summer?

The good: The homage to all the romance tropes and the shattering of a few too.

The not-so-good: Sometimes the Sunshine vs Grumpy trope was a little too much at times.

Why I chose it: Enjoyed Emily Henry’s other books and was looking for a fun read with some happiness attached.

Year: 2022

Pages: 377

Publisher: Penguin

Setting: New York City and small town USA

Rating: 9 out of 10

Book Lovers is a novel I’ve been looking forward to reading for some time. It’s about books! Romance! Emily Henry! While it didn’t quite have the same zing for me as You and Me on Vacation, it’s still a warm, sweet story knowingly involving as many romance tropes as possible. Think Sunshine vs Grumpy, small town romance and a few secrets.

The Sunshine of this story is Nora, a hotshot literary agent. While deep down it’s not her dream career, Nora is darn good at it. She looks after her authors to the nth degree and she’s been able to help her sister and her family out. What more does she need? Actually, Nora’s quirk is that she always gets broken up with in cliched ways right before her ex finds The One. Whatever, Nora’s here to make great books sell. Charlie is a grumpy literary editor who Nora attempts to charm with her best author’s work. Charlie isn’t having a bar of it – who wants another charming small town story? Nora sells the book and it becomes a hit. So much of a hit that years later, her sister Libby drags Nora on a summer holiday to the place where the story is set. Sunshine Falls certainly isn’t the dream small town set out in the book, but Libby is determined that Nora and herself will check off as many romance tropes and cliches during their story. That all sounds great (well, sort of) until Nora discovers Charlie in town. No matter which trope she’s trying out, Charlie is there. And he’s not always grumpy. This isn’t a romance novel in the characters’ minds, but do they have the ability to keep their hands off each other?

As always, Emily Henry writes great characters with a few quirks, and hidden depths. Both Nora and Charlie’s secrets are well hidden and come to the fore at just the right time. The story pokes gentle fun at romance tropes while embracing them with just the right fun factor. It’s definitely a happy story. Even in the darker moments, there’s always a promise of sunshine after the rain. I did get a little sick of Charlie’s grumpiness and Nora’s inability to give herself a moment’s rest from her work, but otherwise the novel is very much set in the book world. Not just involving agents, authors and editors, the story adds fanatical readers and a local bookstore to the mix. Add in a draft novel which I really wouldn’t mind reading. There’s also plenty about small town life, memories and growing up, as well as the baggage left behind (but still waiting) in youth. The icing on the cake is the delightfully named eateries and stores in Sunshine Falls, which have some incredible puns.

If you’re looking for a story with happiness that won’t demand ugly tears or have a completely out of character shock ending, Book Lovers is your book. (Yes, I’ve been jaded recently). I loved that Book Lovers didn’t demand more than I can give in these turbulent times, it just wanted me to read and enjoy it. It’s fun, sweet, a little bit sexy and memorable. We need more books like this in our lives.

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