Two of my favorite romances in the last few years have been Emily Henry‘s Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting her third adult novel, Book Lovers. It’s finally out, I tore through it, and it just may be her best book yet.
Two years ago, literary agent Nora Stephens had an unpleasant meeting with editor Charlie Lastra. He ended up passing on a book she was representing, a book that went on to be a huge hit and had a film adaptation to boot. Now, Nora and her sister Libby are spending a month in the small North Carolina town where that novel was set. The sisters-only vacation will hopefully help them through whatever chasm is opening up between them. While Libby’s eager for some true relaxation, she hopes Nora will complete a list of fun activities. Nora’s a little distracted, though, when her nemesis Charlie shows up in the same town. What are the odds? What is he even doing here? Despite their apparent differences, Nora and Charlie may have more in common than they realize, and he may be able to help Nora when she and her sister are at the precipice of falling apart.
Emily Henry has a unique gift for writing romances that are hilarious and fun and joyful… but also emotional and heart-wrenching and cathartic. That magic is on display again in Book Lovers, and dare I say, she’s outdone herself again.
I love the premise of Book Lovers: flip the Hallmark movie on its head, destroy it, and give the ice queen a chance! As someone who kind of hates Hallmark movies, this is the perfect novel for me. There’s nothing wrong with loving the city or being ambitious; likewise, there’s nothing inherently charming about small towns. (I grew up in a small town myself; it was mostly just boring.) Of course, our NYC career woman is going to feel pretty out of place in this North Carolina town, but that doesn’t make her the bad guy!
Right away, Book Lovers is truly hilarious. Emily Henry’s humor feels so natural and genuine. It’s not the cringey, quirky style that I find obnoxious; instead, it’s the kind of funny comments and jokes I myself would make if I only knew how.
However, that levity is balanced by a fair amount of drama. Much of it is based on past trauma: Nora and Libby’s mother’s death; Nora’s efforts to keep the roof over her and Libby’s heads; the absence of any father figure. Some of it is based on the chasm currently widening between the sisters, not that Nora knows what it is. Libby is keeping mum about it, but something is clearly wrong.
While Book Lovers is a romance, at its core, it may equally be a love story between sisters. As a woman who’s close to my little sister, I love a good book about sisters! I enjoyed seeing the sibling bond between Nora and Libby, how they can talk about anything, yet how a wedge can develop, too. They don’t always understand or agree with each other, but they’re there for each other. Their relationship is sweet and paramount to the novel.
Of course, the romance between Charlie and Nora is also center stage. I love them both. This isn’t quite the enemies-to-lovers story I’d anticipated, but regardless, I love how these two get to know each other and develop a tentative bond. They’re also just a lot of fun together, and their banter is flawless. They’re smart and clever, but they bicker a lot, too. They also have great chemistry, even if they (and readers) have to wait for the steamier scenes.
There are certain things I love about Charlie in particular, but they’re spoilers, so I’ll keep those to myself. An issue also arises later on, and I feared the characters would miss what I thought was the best solution, or worse, fall into a cliched trap. Luckily, they read my mind and did exactly what I’d hoped! Crisis averted. But again, that’s a spoiler; sorry not sorry! Suffice it to say, this novel ends as perfectly as it begins.
Book Lovers is a sweet, fun, emotional novel. It’s a love story between sisters, a romance between an unlikely couple, and a love letter to all the avid readers out there. Though it’s hard to compare Emily Henry’s books – they’re all so good! – this one may be my favorite yet. I already can’t wait for whatever is next.
Get the Book
You can buy Book Lovers here – it’s available as a hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
Please note that the above link is an Amazon affiliate link and I may earn a commission on any purchases you make.
|Book Lovers by Emily Henry|
|Setting||New York; North Carolina|
|Number of Pages||373|
|Format I Read||Hardcover|
|Original Publication Date||May 3, 2022|
An insightful, delightful new novel from the number-one New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.
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.
About the Author
Emily Henry is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read, as well as several young adult novels. She lives and writes in the Cincinnati and the part of Kentucky just beneath it.
Her books have been featured in Buzzfeed, Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, The Skimm, Shondaland, Betches, Bustle, and more.
Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites.