By Emily Henry
“If you swapped out all my Jessicas for Johns, do you know what you’d get? Fiction. Just fiction. Ready and willing to be read by anyone, but somehow by being a woman who writes about women, I’ve eliminated half the Earth’s population from my potential readers, and you know what? I don’t feel ashamed of that. I feel pissed.”
This was a very cute romance with a healthy dose of humor, banter, and a little drama. It was well-written and was interesting and engaging. I liked the heroine and I liked the hero even more especially after one of the reveals at the end. The premise was good and original: A successful romantic comedy writer is blocked because of revelations regarding her late beloved father not being the man she thought he was. And a “serious” fiction writer also blocked because…I forget why. But he still bears the scars from a very unhappy childhood. They knew each other in college where they were antagonistic towards each other because they are completely opposite personality types. Now they coincidentally live next door to each other on Lake Michigan. They decide to exchange book genres to try to get the juices flowing again. He will write a romance novel, and she will write a dark and serious novel without a happy ending.
This is where the book kind of lost it a bit for me. Both have a deadline and publishers who are anxiously awaiting their manuscripts. January continues to give her word that her book will be ready. I had a problem with the fact she wasn’t working on the expected romance her publisher and fans have been waiting for and lying about it. Her publisher (or is it her agent?) is putting her career and word on the line trusting that January will deliver. Presumably, it was the same with Gus, though we never get to see his struggles with writing a romance. Unfortunately. I just kept thinking about how I would feel if one of my favorite authors put her name on a sad tragic story with no hope, closure, or justice. It would be a betrayal. In the end, they had to stay true somewhat to their hearts. January’s daughter of circus freaks loses the love of her life but is given some hope at the end. And Gus’s lovers do escape from the cult even though they are killed by a meteor on their way out of town. But those are two books I would never want to read, by the way. Luckily, we are just given a synopsis of the plots. but if I had been their publishers or agents I would have been really really mad. I also would have felt used and betrayed if I had been one of the survivors of the real life deadly cult that Gus interviewed for the research for the book. The serious literary treatment of my tragic devastating experience turned into a romantic comedy? I know the plot device is just kind of a McGuffin to keep the two together and an excuse to spend time and fall in love, but I just couldn’t get it out of my mind.
I also had a problem with January doubting Gus’s love at the end just because his almost ex-wife showed up unexpectedly. It just didn’t make sense after all that had happened and been revealed. It kind of showed, to me, that January was too needy and didn’t trust Gus or deserve him.**end spoiler**
I think the book would have benefited from dual viewpoints. It was missing something that took this one down a notch. **3 stars out of 5 stars**
June 29, 2020