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.
I cannot stress how glad I am that I read The people we meet on vacation before I read Beach Read –honestly, that one was just OK (and the heroine frustrated the heck out of me for much of it) and I don’t know that I would have read TPWMOV or this book if I’d read BR first, and that would have been downright criminal.
I loved Nora and Charlie’s story–it was so much fun, and had so many little touches in it that made it a perfect read for “book lovers” everywhere, especially those who have a special place in their heart for rom coms set in small towns. Nora constantly thinks in terms of tropes, archetypes, and romance plot points, thinking of herself as *not* the heroine even as her plot chugs along, showing readers page by page how she absolutely IS a heroine, “ideal” or not. The banter between her and Charlie, whether in person, through email, or during text, often had me laughing out loud. (The bigfoot erotica exchanges *might* have had me snort laughing…)
I might classify this book as more of a women’s fiction book (ugh, still hate that term, but whatever) than a romance–though the romance was delightful, a significant chunk of the book’s focus was on the relationship between Nora and her sister Libby rather than Nora and Charlie. The two clearly had a lot of things to figure out, especially Nora, who even after her sister was clearly an established adult (married! with 2 kids already, and expecting another!) was still trying to manage her life for her, often behind the scenes and in ways that Libby wasn’t even aware of years after it happened.
Throughout the book it was clear that something was going on with her younger sister that Nora didn’t know about or understand, and the lengths she continued to go to to try and “fix” things for Libby without even knowing what–if anything!–needed fixing was…a bit frustrating? But understandable for her character, and exactly what she needed to, well, fix about herself in order to have a relationship with her sister as two adults. (And can I just say, I was soooo glad that her sister’s “issue” wasn’t what it kind of looked like it might be…everything worked out so nicely here, and it made my heart smile :))
The ending of the book brings us back to its romance roots, though, and OMG was it ever satisfying. I closed my ereader with the happiest of happy sighs. Counting the days until Ms Henry gives us another one!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.