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.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
Book Lovers by Emily Henry is an enemy to lovers’ romantic comedy set in the publishing world. Nora Stephens is a literary agent, and Charlie Lastra is an editor at a publishing house. Their first meeting over a book went very badly, and when they ended up in the same small town in North Carolina, they soon realized that a small town was just not big enough to keep their distance from one another.
Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
This is the first book I’ve taken off my bookshelf to read and review in a long while, and I chose it partly because my library request for the audio version finally came through, and I had heard so many incredible things about it. Those stellar things make me expect a romantic comedy that I will fall in love with and a reading experience that I will be delighted to have.
Actual Reading Experience:
I just loved this book, the characters, and the story. I got behind on my Sunday blog hopping because I couldn’t put it down. I paid for it Monday, hopping around doubly as fast trying to get to all I missed. But it was well worth it!
I loved that the story takes place in the publishing world, and it was easy to imagine an agent and an editor being at odds. And that is every bookworm’s dream world, isn’t it? How could I not instantly identify and love characters who are book lovers?
I loved the family theme that played out strongly throughout the story. Nora and Charlie had scars from loss, which played into everything they did. I loved the sister relationship between Nora and her sister most of all. Their banter reminded me so much of my sister and me that I was instantly there with them, joining in the snarky fun.
Oh, and speaking of snark… the story is full of it, and I loved every snarky word uttered. I laughed out loud numerous times at the exchanges between Charlie and Nora and between the sisters. I love witty banter. The more, the better, and this book had plenty.
The characters were very relatable and sympathetic, from the main characters down to the most minor support character. They all have a unique voice and a compelling story to share.
Nora Stephens is a literary agent who has never gotten over the loss of her mother. Every decision she makes and every sacrifice she bears returns to that fateful day when her mother passed away.
Charlie Lastra is a well-respected editor with a no-nonsense attitude who can inflict cuts with words much sharper than any knife. He holds on to a secret about his family that has haunted him since they told him.
Narration & Pacing:
The narration is in first person perspective through Nora’s eyes. I loved this choice of narration for this story because Nora is such an incredibly complex person that wouldn’t have given anything away about herself had I not been in her head. It also kept the pace very quick and my attention focused.
Jill Whelan narrates the audio version – a narrator I have learned has quite a following. The narration held my attention and went at a pace that pretty closely matched my reading speed without having to raise the rate past 1.0.
I love that the story takes place in a small town in the North Carolina mountains. The small-town setting, far away from New York City, worked perfectly for the central conflict in the story.
What It Reminds Me Of:
The witty banter made me think of When Harry Met Sally while I was reading, which is a movie that I adore.
Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
- Originality: ⭐️⭐️💫
- Writing Quality: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Pace: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Character Development: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- ‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Use of Setting: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Audio Version Narration: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫