By Emily Henry
My rating: 5 stars
Goodreads Rating: 4.33
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Format Read: Audiobook
Goodreads Summary: One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming….
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
Have you ever been going through life as normal, when you meet someone and realize that they fit an exact trope you’ve read about in books? The small town guy, the city girl who gets swept off her feet, and the ex that just doesn’t fit into the new life. If so, Emily Henry’s new book, Book Lovers, is the perfect one for you.
Right from the start, I was swept off of my feet by the cast of characters. Nora Stephens is the inner city girl who knows what she wants– to be successful at her job as a literary agent. She’s never left the house without heels, and her boyfriends are the ones that leave her to move to small towns. The love interest, Charlie, is the uptight Mr. Darcy character, the one that exists only in an enemies to lovers. When Nora’s sister, Libby, forces Nora to go with her on a trip to the small town to check off their “small town novel” bucket list, Nora is shocked to see that her literary enemy Charlie is also in the small town.
What I loved about the book is the way it fearlessly leaned into tropes. The tropes were discussed by Nora regularly, so that the characters were just as self aware as we were. I feel like this rarely works, but in this case it felt so purely natural that I couldn’t help but love every page.
Nora is a lovable character, but she’s also complicated and flawed and unsure of whether she’s going about life right. Charlie appears mean, but really he just wants to be loved. Libby clearly has something going on, but she isn’t ready to share that with her sister yet. The relationship between Nora and Libby was equally important to the plot as the relationship between Charlie and Nora, and for that reason I was constantly unsure what was going to happen. By admitting all of the tropes exist, the book managed to subvert the expectations that the tropes typically laid out.
It’s hard for a pure romance book to get five stars from me. It’s typically too predictable and perpetually happy for me to buy into it emotionally. The same is true for Nora, and that’s why this book had so much grit. I fully cried at one part because Henry pulled at all the right emotional heartstrings. If you are a book lover who has long since memorized every classic trope, then you are just like Nora, and you should read this book immediately. I promise it will not disappoint.