I read this book at the recommendation of a friend who loves the author. This is the second book I’ve read by her, and I can honestly say I’m not a fan of Emily Henry’s writing. I won’t rip the book to shreds here, but I will comment on what I didn’t like. I finished the entire book, so I feel I’ve earned the ability to speak on the experience.
Synopsis: Nora Stephens is a literary agent working in New York. She’s the character every Hallmark movie hero breaks up with toward the end of the film when he’s realized living in a small town and dating an easygoing baker is much more valuable to his life than the cutthroat businesswoman from the city.
After suffering another relationship’s end caused by the small-town pull, Nora’s sister Libby suggests they stay in a small town so Nora can have her romance story unfold. Throughout the stay, Nora runs into an editor from the city named Charlie Lastra. Their last interaction left a bad taste in her mouth, but she quickly discovered she had judged him too harshly when they’d both had a terrible day.
As they connect through their love of books, Nora realizes she doesn’t know Charlie as well as she thought she did. Their bond develops, and Nora isn’t prepared to admit she’s been picking the wrong guys the whole time. Could Charlie be the right guy, after all?
Story: I was intrigued by the story and enjoyed the book’s first half. What bothered me was that the second half dragged so hard. The drama didn’t match the stakes, and it often felt that the heroine was stealing from the intensity of other characters’ scenes with her self-centered internal monologue. The story would come to a complete halt sometimes because Henry wanted to further explain the intensely dramatic reaction to something that should have been a mild response. The third-act conflict was very frustrating and went on for far too long.
Characters: I liked Charlie throughout the story. I thought he was fantastic and realistic as a person. Their banter was also so great when they got to know one another. At first, I liked Nora too, but eventually, she became self-absorbed and highly reactive. All she thought about was herself. This bothered me about the heroine in Beach Reads too, which is why I don’t think Henry is the author for me.
Spice Scenes: I don’t really remember if they were open door or just low steam. I’m going to give this book a 2/5 because I think some scenes did happen, but I was highly bored, and they didn’t even excite me. I remember them starting, unsure how long they lasted or how explicit they were.
- Great first half
- Interesting characters
- Wonderful premise
- Great banter
- Too over-dramatic
- Too long
- Became incredibly dull at certain parts
- Third act conflict made 0 sense
Book Rating: 3/5
Spice Level: 2/5
I rated the book a 3/5 even though I didn’t really like it because it was still well-written. There were no obvious errors or lack of care from the author. This book was legitimately just not for me. My friend enjoyed it. She liked the premise, and I’m assuming enjoyed the drama. A few other reviews had people claiming Nora was exactly like them, so they resonated. I didn’t. I found it highly overdramatic and boring, so I probably won’t pick up another Henry book.
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