Six Ways to Write a Love Letter by Jackson Pearce
Published July 5, 2022 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Reviewed by Kate
Six Ways to Write a Love Letter is unapologetic Taylor Swift fan fiction in romance novel form. The female main character, Vivi Swan, is an internationally known pop star who is tall, blond, and constantly wears bright red lipstick. The book takes place mostly during her tour, where our male main character, Remy, has been pulled in to play drums because of a last minute broken arm.
Six Ways to Write a Love Letter is told totally from Remy’s point of view. This in and of itself makes it unique in the romance novel world, where most books with heterosexual couples are told from the point of view of the female main character or a combination of the two. This was interesting to me in two ways. First, I felt that the story was relying a lot on the reader’s knowledge of pop stars to fill in any blanks in Vivi’s character. The author didn’t have to spend a lot of time focusing on the negative press women pop stars get (and why that might be a motivation for the character) because nearly everybody is already aware that is something that happens. The second was that I found myself wondering a lot about what was going through Vivi’s head – she was an enigma in the way that some male main characters tend to be – and it was a very interesting swap.
Contrast this with several flashbacks about Remy’s past, and the reader has a lot of details about why Remy is the way he is, and very few about Vivi. And this is why I think the narration works, honestly. Remy is a bit of an open book. He is who he is – steadfast and loyal, it even makes sense that he’s a drummer, because he’s so even keeled. He doesn’t have the same level of fame that Vivi has to contend with, either. However, Vivi, being who she is, has a lot of emotional shields up, in any relationship she has, and it works very well to have the reader discover her along with Remy.
Like I’ve maybe made clear, Six Ways to Write a Love Letter worked for me. Remy and Vivi’s relationship blossoming from a working relationship to a more emotional, intimate one progressed in a way that felt very real. The story is very readable, and it pulled me in from the beginning. One quibble I have was that the ending wrapped up relatively tidily, and I do feel that the conflict was fairly predictable. The grand romantic gesture at the end is adorable, though.
Overall, I would recommend Six Ways to Write a Love Letter. It is different and it actually stuck with me after I finished (and not in a bad way). It’s a little hard to describe – it’s not light and fluffy, but it’s also not dark, either. It’s a beautifully written story with depth and I liked the balance of drama, sweet relationship development and song writing. If you’re into late night phone calls where the couple falls asleep on the phone, “nobody can know” type relationships, and some forced proximity a la tour bus, definitely check this one out.
Content notes: Remy and Val grew up isolated in a very religious household and there are some flashbacks to their childhood, Val had a drug addiction and spent time in rehab