Book Lovers by Emily Henry

At the end of this book, there is a Reader’s Discussion Guide and a note from the author giving us insight into her inspiration for the story. I loved that this was sort of her ode to her love for Hallmark movies but rather than the stereotypical story where a hot shot from the city begrudgingly goes to a small town to conduct some sort of business but then ends up falling in love with the town and it changes their entire life. With everyone living happily ever after. Well everyone except for the frigid ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend) they left behind in the big city who has done nothing all movie except try to thwart our hero/heroine’s life-changing experience. Book Lovers takes a look at what a love story for that ex might look like. Answering questions such as – where does she go from here? And – is going to some small-town the only way for an uptight city person like that to find love?

Enter cutthroat literary agent Nora Stephens. She loves her life in New York City, expensive clothes, being in control, and her Peloton. Oh and her last few boyfriends all dumped her after taking a trip to some small-town and finding the girl of their dreams there. She’s definitely not your typical romance heroine. The only thing more important to her than being successful at her job is her relationship with her little sister, Libby. This is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for a month when Libby asks. Libby thinks that this time away might give Nora her own small-town transformation. But instead of meeting a sexy lumberjack or some other typical small-town hero, she keeps running into Charlie Lastra – a brooding book editor she knows from back in NYC. Their previous interactions have always been wrought with tension, they’re definitely not friends and may even be considered enemies by some. But the more time they spend together outside the hustle and bustle of the city, the more they come to understand one another. Nora may have thought her and Charlie’s story had already been written but she soon finds out there’s much more to uncover.

I had a lot of fun reading this book! First off, as a fellow book lover, this was a gold mine of little nods to different tropes and bookish talk. Secondly, it was just a really solid romcom, it was sweet and funny, and had some really beautifully romantic moments. I loved that Nora was a badass career woman, with real goals and aspirations, and despite her experiences in Sunshine Falls and finding love, she is never forced to compromise that part of her – even if that means she might not get the guy in the end. She and Charlie were two peas in a pod and I just loved how easy it was between them. They just got each other on a level that no one else ever could, or would. They had their challenges and plenty of obstacles to overcome but I appreciated that most of them were external forces. There was no pointless drama here and they communicated very well. Both career-driven individuals, they understood the importance of that aspect of each other’s lives and I loved seeing them work together throughout the novel. Charlie was such a good guy and he was so supportive of Nora. I loved that he became a safe space for her as she dealt with some personal issues during the story. Some scenes between them in the later chapters took my breath away from how romantic they were in their simplicity.

The story also deals with Nora’s relationship with her little sister. They’ve always had a special bond and Nora’s taken on the role of Libby’s protector and always factors in how choices she makes will affect Libby and her family. All she wants to do is make sure Libby has everything she needs even if it means Nora has to go without. As the older sister in my own family, I could relate to this dynamic on some levels but there were a lot of times when I became frustrated with Nora because she basically bulldozed Libby and never really took the time to find out what Libby actually wanted when it came to Nora’s level of involvement in her life. But this actually served as an important area of growth for Nora over the later part of the book. And I was glad that she had Charlie there by her side. Not because I don’t think she could have gotten there on her own, but sometimes you just need someone in your corner, especially when you’re used to being on your own like Nora was.

Overall, I thought this was a really great story. My book-loving heart was very happy with how it all played out!

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