Book Lovers by Emily Henry
May 3, 2022, by Berkley
Review by Angela
I’ve become an Emily Henry fangirl over the last couple of years, so when this book hit my Kindle I set aside everything to read.
Book Lovers centers around two main characters deeply involved in the publishing world. Literary agent extraordinaire Nora Stephens and her editor nemesis Charlie Lastra. They first cross paths at a coffee meeting to discuss her biggest client’s new manuscript. He disparages the small-town setting and she takes umbrage and it only goes downhill from there.
Now it’s several years later and Nora has agreed (under duress) to accompany her baby sister on a month-long vacation for just the two of them. Libby is pregnant with baby number three and Nora can sense that she desperately needs this time together to relax and recharge. If they are able to reconnect, even better. Libby is the most important person in Nora’s life after the death of their mother and she will do just about anything she asks, even leave her beloved New York City and head to the middle of nowhere small-town America. The fact that it’s also the setting for her client’s lastest bestseller just makes it weird. AND LOW AND BEHOLD WHO SHOULD ALSO BE THERE? You guessed it. Charlie Lastra.
I’m the city person. Not the one who meets the hot farmer. The other one.
Nora is adamant in the opening of Book Lovers that she isn’t the romance heroine who gets the guy. She’s the woman who always gets left when her boyfriend goes to a small town and meets the girl who changes him forever. She’s the tough, city girl who makes no apologies about being the tough city girl because she loves her city and she loves her routines and she loves being the biggest advocate for her clients. Nora Stephens is only soft for Libby and her girls and that’s okay. But her sister thinks she needs to have a change in her life and has given Nora this list where she is encouraged to mark off her new experiences.
When she gets into town it’s not exactly what she envisioned. But the fact that it happens to also be Charlie’s hometown explains so much about why he didn’t love the book when she pitched it to him so long ago. They keep bumping into each other and eventually, the backstories come out about why each of them is there. She to make her sister happy and him to take care of his father and help out at their local business, a book store that badly needs a business makeover. And eventually, they end up working on a new project together, reading as the pages come in, shooting notes back and forth, and slowly realizing there is a sexual tension between the two of them that they just can’t deny.
Sometimes, even when you start with the last page and you think you know everything, a book finds a way to surprise you.
Emily Henry writes some of the best dialogue, banter, and snark I’ve read in ages. Her back and forth verbal volleys are *chef’s kiss* and I absolutely love it. Nora and Charlie are both city people stuck together in a small town, both 100% aware that they don’t fit in and don’t really want to. But they fit together and they understand and admire the parts of each other that no one else seems to. They also happen to be super hot for each other. Their romance is slow-burn and there is a lot of getting to know each other before they give in and finally have sex. But it is worth it. Nora and Charlie have so much chemistry and the longing for each other after even while trying to keep it strictly professional is top-notch. So damn good.
Alongside this romance is Nora reconnecting with her sister and realizing that she doesn’t need to protect her anymore. She learns to let go and let Libby make decisions that will take her in new directions, even if they take her away from the city and all the places with so many memories from their childhood.
This book was a journey. For Nora, for Charlie, and for me. This enemies to lovers romance set around the publishing world hit all my buttons. And the ending and HEA worked for me in every single way. Emily Henry still remains at the top of my contemporary romance auto-buy list.
I slip my arms around his neck and climb into his lap, kissing his temples, his jaw, his mouth. Love, I think, a tremor in my hands as they move into his hair, as he kisses me.
The last-page ache.
The deep breath in after you’ve set the book aside.
When he walks me to the door sometime later, he takes my face in his hands and says, “You, Nora Stephens, will always be okay.”
Final grade- A-
This does sound appealing, Angela. Thanks for your review.
Hands down, my favorite book of the month and one of my favorite books of the year. Nora is one of my favorite heroines of all time. Love your review, Angela!