I am a huge fan of the enemies to lovers trope, so when I read the synopsis to Emily Henry’s Beach Read it went right onto the good ol’ TBR pile. What made it even more intriguing was that it was a love story about two writers who make a bet that they can’t write in each other’s genre. Mix in the fact that they are both on an end of summer deadline, our female MC more so, and you’ve got a recipe for a great romance novel that is right in my wheelhouse.
I was surprised by the depth with which Henry introduced the characters. January’s family drama and Augustus’ family trauma are introduced so concisely that their behaviors alone and toward each other never seem overblown just to further the plot like so many romances do. You know why Gus withdraws, we understand why January hesitates to trust, and watching them work through these issues and toward each other while writing their respective books is all very rewarding in the end.
It’s also delightful when we are in a kind of getaway location, in this case on the banks of Lake Michigan in vacation homes, January’s left to her by her philandering dad after his unexpected death. It made me want to rent a cabin in my home state of Maine, if only to finish a draft that I am satisfied to send out onto the slush pile. It’s romantic to think about sitting on a porch listening to the loons over the lake as the sun goes down. Beach Read made me want to escape all the more.
My only gripe with the book is the thing I know that authors sometimes have the least control over: the title. The characters are on the beach for like, five pages tops. And the beach next to a lake is not the same as a beach next to an ocean. I wish the title more accurately reflected the story within, but as gripes go, it’s very small compared to how much I enjoyed the story itself. Don’t be misled into thinking this is a story with beaches involved. It is not.
If you enjoy romance novels and often wish for the story to be a bit darker and the characters to be more complex, Beach Read should be on your TBR list too. You won’t be disappointed.
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