Book Lovers by Emily Henry makes a great summer read
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Genre: Chick Lit / Romance
Published May 2022, 384 pages
This is my second Emily Henry book this summer. I read People We Meet on Vacation earlier. While I found the format of Vacation a bit repetitive, I like this one better as the story flowed more smoothly.
The two books share that the main characters have book related connections: in Vacation, the woman is a travel blogger/writer and in Book Lovers, the woman is a book agent and the man is an editor. I like the feeling of getting to know the inner workings of the behind the scenes of getting a book published, however superficially.
The general plot of this book is that Nora and her married, pregnant little sister, Libby, take a vacation away from Nora's busy work schedule and Libby's family responsibilities - something for just the two of them. They leave the hustle and bustle of New York City and travel to a tiny town in N. Carolina. Because Nora is such a workaholic and functions by lists, her sister made a bucket list of things to do while on vacation - silly, fun things, but also total romance trope things - things like save a failing business (the local bookstore, duh!), date a local small-town guy, sleep under the stars, etc.
But, big surprise, when they get to the small town in the middle of nowhere, who should Nora run into but......yep, her nemesis Charlie, the NYC editor that turned down working on her author's book. Naturally the dislike turned into like turned into mutual attraction, conflict, and wonderful resolution. All the steps in between actually seemed reasonably believable, which is one of the things I liked about the book.
I would classify this summer read as chick lit or romance. It is NOT something I usually read - and yet I've read two this summer.....very unusual! And, even more surprising, I found myself unexpectedly engrossed and enjoying this book. In People We Meet on Vacation, I remember occasional clever dialog, but in this book - the snarky texts back and forth between Nora and Charlie are just priceless. There are some just delicious exchanges. I think it's really hard to write believable yet entertaining dialog - Henry does it VERY well.
While the plot follows the predictable trope of work-enemies to sparks-fly-attraction, I appreciated the depth given to the characters, particularly Nora and to a lesser extent Charlie, the editor. Nora's compulsion for taking care of people and controlling all the variables comes from the death of her mom when the sisters were young. The dynamics of how that event shaped the two sisters is handled very well. It's a through-line in the story and illustrates Nora's personal growth as she figures things out.
The sibling relationship is another big plus for this novel. Sisters who have issues but love each other completely. Sisters who have secrets but when they come out, instead of crushing the relationship, it forces them to talk, to comfort, to connect. I thought the way Libby and Nora interacted was excellent.
I appreciate that Nora has a career she's passionate about and takes pride in doing well. She stands up for herself and her clients. And when Charlie becomes involved with her, that's one of the things he admires about her - her dedication to excellence and to her clients. It's so nice to have a strong career woman portrayed positively AND that a man she cares about recognizes her capability. Great representation!
So, can you tell I think you should read this book? While it's a great summer read, if your list is already too long and there's no room, that's okay. Read it in the fall. Just read it.