May 19, 2020
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
I probably shouldn’t admit this because oh-my-goodness-what-will-it-do-to-my-rep (presuming I have one) 😉 but Beach Read by Emily Henry proves that I do not have my finger on the pulse point of book blogging or I would have undoubtedly read this wonderful novel before now.
Two writers suffering from writer’s block agree to a bet in which they will write in the other’s genre. For January Andrews that might just be easy because she’s not sure that she can write happily-ever-afters ever again after her fiancé dumps her and her beloved father dies and she discovers that he hasn’t been as above-board as he always seemed. As for Gus Everett penning a romance? Perhaps unlikelier events have occurred in the history of the universe but not many. Will they succeed? And what will happen along the way?
I’ll tell you right off the bat that I loved pretty much everything about Beach Read. It’s not your typical romance. In fact, the thoughtful writing and view of the world made me think of Katherine Center. Like Center’s The Bodyguard which I just reviewed, Beach Read invites you to feel almost every emotion. There are laugh-out-loud moments followed by highly introspective ones to jolting ones that may cause your eyes to leak; mine did.
January and Gus are great characters. They have a history together that was based on a misunderstanding, which they are slow to resolve but not slow in that way that less intelligent writing draws out but slow in the way that human nature is slow. In fact, the reactions and situations are pretty realistic. These are not perfect people and their responses are true-to-life. They make mistakes. They jump to conclusions. They have doubts, weaknesses, and foibles. And, I loved them as I did the secondary characters, even January’s father whom we only meet through these oh-so-wonderful and heartbreaking letters he writes to her for every single one of her birthdays. Gulp. I’m teary just thinking about it.
I’m not going to prolong this review. If you haven’t read Beach Read and you enjoy women’s fiction/romance that runs the gamut of emotions, is intelligent and well-written, read this book.
This was an actual beach read courtesy of the beach cottage where I stayed over New Year’s.
5 out of 5 butterflies