Friday, June 3, 2022

Summer Reading 2022: Book Lovers by Emily Henry


I'm chipping away at my summer reading pile, and I just finished Book Lovers by Emily Henry. I wanted to give her another chance after I read Beach Read a few years ago and had mixed feelings about that novel. Enough mixed feelings that I didn't read People We Meet on Vacation, her follow up. 

I'm happy to say I had a different experience with this novel. It could be I liked the characters much more in Book Lovers.  Nora and Charlie both live in New York City. Nora is a literary agent, and Charlie is an editor. They meet briefly to discuss one of Nora's clients. Charlie doesn't like the book, and Nora doesn't much like Charlie. Neither makes a good impression on the other.  

Fast forward two years later, and Nora is taking a month long vacation to the town of Sunshine Falls, North Carolina with her pregnant sister Libby. They are extremely close, but Nora has felt some distance in their relationship. Libby isn't happy with Nora's career taking all of her time; Nora is afraid their relationship may be damaged because of it. 

Nora runs into Charlie in Sunshine Falls. Oh--did I mention Sunshine Falls is the setting for the novel Charlie dissed two years before? And that novel was a HUGE hit? Surprise, surprise. Charlie actually is from Sunshine Falls. He's there taking care of his parent's bookshop and helping his father recover from a stroke. Charlie hates Sunshine Falls. They run into each other, and it's clear their short meeting two years before was just the start of something big. 

Nora and Charlie begin working on editing a novel that has the potential to be a blockbuster. They both know it and are completely in sync with each other about the work it will take to shape the manuscript and get it ready to sell. 

Nora and Charlie also are irresistibly attracted to each other, and their chemistry is off the charts! I'll say Emily Henry hit the nail on the head as Nora finds the little things about Charlie so darn hot. That's exactly how it works. I'm partial to my dude's dimples. They get me every time. I love his chin. Weird, I know, but darn it all he's got a great chin. Anyway...Nora and Charlie just are so good together. I loved reading their texts; they just get each other. Smart, snappy, sharp conversations that make their relationship very believable. 

Charlie's attraction to Nora is also so. well. done. I loved the evolution of their relationship. A great match; great dialogue. 

Nora's relationship with her sister Libby is a bit complicated, and Nora's quirks and issues get a deep dive into her past. Charlie brings out the best in her. 

A big theme in this novel is the idea of happily ever after, and how sometimes it doesn't always happen the way we want it to happen. Life is not a Hallmark movie; tough choices have to be made. Sometimes your happy is not the same happy for others you love, and you have to make a choice. It's also about loving someone enough to let them go so they can be happy. 

I'm not saying how this novel ends, because the journey is important. It's a good journey, however, and while this is a romance, it's also a story about family, sacrifice, personal happiness, and healing. 

Okay. So I'm onboard the Emily Henry train. Book Lovers was a great read, a solid romance, and an examination of being happy in your life versus just being okay in order to make someone else happy. 

Rating: 5/6 for two engaging characters: Nora and Charlie. Darn it all, Charlie sure is appealing! The story moves along at a good pace; all of the strands of this plot come together neatly. A good novel to take on vacation. 

Available in paperback, hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

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