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Buy Beach Read: The ONLY laugh-out-loud love story you'll want to escape with this summer by Emily Henry from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
Book DetailsISBN: 9780241989524
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Book Review: Beach Read: The ONLY laugh-out-loud love story you'll want to escape with this summer by Emily Henry - Reviewed by CloggieA (19 Nov 2020)
“Here’s the thing about writing Happily Ever Afters: it helps if you believe in them. Here’s the thing about me: I did until the day of my father’s funeral.”
Beach Read is the first adult novel by American author, Emily Henry. A year ago, January Andrews had a perfect life: “Perfect (cancer-free) parents who called several times a week, tipsy on wine or each other’s company. Perfect (spontaneous, multilingual, six foot three) boyfriend who worked in the ER and knew how to make coq au vin. Perfect shabby chic apartment in Queens. Perfect job writing romantic novels— inspired by perfect parents and perfect boyfriend— for Sandy Lowe Books.”
Now: “I was miserable, broke, semi-homeless, very single, and pulling up to a gorgeous lake house whose very existence nauseated me.”
Having quit Queens, here she is, at her father’s lakeside cottage in North Bear Shores, Michigan for the summer, trying to pack away and sell all trace of her father’s infidelity, while overcoming writers’ block: she has to get her fifth romance novel written or her agent will seriously lose it. But inspiration is lacking: how can you write about something you are no longer convinced about?
While she’s made welcome at the village bookstore, the (so-far) faceless interactions with her grumpy neighbour don’t help. Worse still, she discovers it’s Augustus Everett, writer of serious novels, whose disdain for her genre has been clear since college. And who also seems to be missing his muse. The other little fly in the ointment is the presence of her father’s lover in the little town, an attendee at the bookshop owner’s “Red Blood, White Russians, and Blue Jeans Book Club” to which January and Gus are invited.
How does it come about that January and Gus swap genres? A bet, a dare, a recognition that a change might do the trick and shift their writing doldrums? For five days a week, they each write in the genre they’ve never tried; on the sixth and seventh days, they show how they research their own, familiar work. Gus will “take you through my research process. I’ll help you lean into your latent nihilism” while January will “throw in a rom-com crash course, a Romance Hero boot camp”. Gus’s one condition: “Promise not to fall in love with me.”
This is, of course, exactly what happens: over the weeks they get to know one another and college rivals become friends become lovers and fall in love. While the characters are not entirely convincing, Henry does draw a nice parallel between January’s choices and her father’s, and her comment about “women’s fiction” is so very true.
“I know how to tell a story, Gus, and I know how to string a sentence together. If you swapped out all my Jessicas for Johns, do you know what you’d get? Fiction. Just fiction. Ready and willing to be read by anyone, but somehow by being a woman who writes about women, I’ve eliminated half the Earth’s population from my potential readers.” An enjoyable read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Penguin Books UK.
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