Emily Henry’s books have been on my radar for years now. I know I would probably like it every time a new one comes out, but I always had other TBR priorities that pushed her novels down my list even further. When my online book club chose this as their pick for May (yes, I’m a bit behind), I was so excited because I was prioritizing reading through those books this year, which meant Book Lovers was going to get read! I’m a magazine editor and (shock to no one) a book lover, so a love story (and enemies to lovers!) about book editors…Right. Up. My. Alley.
Nora Stephens’s 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 have read a surprising number of five-star reads this year—and Book Lovers is very close to the top, if not holding the top spot of the year. I love that Henry wrote about silly romance-novel tropes, fully aware that she was writing those tropes into her book and also turning them on their heads. It’s a romance for book lovers while also being a nod to sisterhood (like true biological sisters) that I feel is sometimes underappreciated in literature. Of course, I don’t have a sister, but if I did, I would hope that my sister and I would be as close as Nora and Libby.
Nora is the city-dwelling workaholic to whom I can relate. Sure, I did move away from the city to live in suburbia, but I have a job that is somewhat similar to hers (that I love!), and I genuinely enjoy working—I’m good at it, too. She has some past trauma that affects her as an adult (yup), and the way she’s written makes her feel real and believable, though obviously a little exaggerated for comedic effect. I love that we slowly get more and more information about Libby as the novel goes on—and I actually didn’t guess the big mystery about her, which I was grateful for. And don’t even let me get started about Charlie. He’s hot, and that’s all I will say about that.
I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m going to say that I loved the ending. It didn’t feel rushed, like everything wrapped up nicely, and I got a complete, satisfying picture.
I will recommend this book to anyone who’s ever asked me for a book recommendation because I feel like there’s a little bit of everything in here: a little spice, some laugh-out-loud moments, some mystery, great relationships and excellent pacing. I can’t wait to go back and read the rest of Henry’s catalogue.
“When books are you life—or in my case, your job—you get pretty good at guessing where a story is going. The tropes, the archetypes, the common plot twists all start to organize themselves into a catalogue inside your brain, divided by category and genre.” —Emily Henry, Book Lovers
Thank you to Timothy Barlin on Unsplash for the featured photo.