Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Beach Read by Emily Henry

January Andrews is broke and on deadline. Her particular brand of romantic fiction has never been a struggle before, but after learning of her father's long time affair romance and happily-ever-after seem so far off from reality that she just can't quite conjure it up anymore. What's worse, now that her father is dead she can't even confront him about the earth-shattering revelation that her parents' marriage wasn't the perfect match she'd always believed. 

Forced to spend her summer in the love nest her father shared with his mistress, January is afraid she'll never meet the expected delivery date for her latest project. And when it turns out that her next door neighbor is her arch-nemesis from school, best-selling author and womanizer Augustus Everett, it seems her attempts at writing are going to be even more futile. 

But when January and Gus clash at a local book club event, they come to an agreement. Or, more accurately, a bet. Gus, who's always looked down on January's chosen genre, will try to pen a happily-ever-after tale and January will try Gus's hardened literary fiction on for size. In the meantime, she'll teach him the ways of romance (platonically and in the form of movie marathons and the like) and he'll take her on his typical research trips (interviewing cult members, apparently). As summer winds on, January is determined not to let things with Gus go further than competition and—maybe—friendship. But fate, as usual, has a way of intervening on even the best laid plans.

Emily Henry's latest is a rom com with so much heart and soul!

Pitting two authors against each other in a small beach town over a summer is a premise I will always eat up like candy! But Beach Read is more hearty than you might think. In January and Gus, Henry has created two characters with some serious baggage. 

January comes by hers more recently than Gus. Her father has died and she met his mistress for the first time at his funeral. The news that he even had a mistress was a blow to a woman who built a career based on the perfect romance she believed her parents' marriage to be and the resulting inability to even conceive of a book in that vein has been plaguing her for months. 

What's more, January is recently single, broke, and essentially homeless, leaving her no option other than to take up residence at her father's secret second home. 

Which turns out to be next door to Agustus Everett's house. 

Gus and January have a history. They attended the same writing program and Gus maddeningly criticized every reading of January's work. So to say she's less than excited to learn that he's living next door is a grand understatement. 

Avoiding one another turns out to be impossible, which leads to their bet. But of course, the more time they spend together, they do learn that neither is quite what they thought the other to be. 

Beach Read delivers on all the rom com fronts but adds a healthy dose of writer life to the mix as well. And then there's the fact that rather than the typical caricatures you'd expect, Henry's fleshed out January and Gus to an extent that the book becomes so much more than just the rom com you thought you'd picked up. As I said, it's got heart and soul. And messiness. And drama. And so many feelings!

Beach Read is sweet and steamy. It's also a little sad and a little funny. Given the setting, it's a perfect summer read!

Order a copy from your favorite indie via Bookshop!

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