Book review: 'Book Lovers' is a romance fueled by quick banter
"Book Lovers" by Emily Henry (Berkley)
If Emily Henry makes herself laugh at the character's dialogue in her own books, it's understandable. She is a master at witty repartee.
In her latest novel, "Book Lovers," Henry introduces Nora Stephens and Charlie Lafra. Nora is a literary agent and Charlie is a book editor. The two meet once about a prospective book Charlie could edit and both make a poor impression. Minutes prior, Nora was dumped by her boyfriend over the phone. She arrives late and Charlie is grumpy. He's also not a fan of the book that Nora is pitching, calling it "unreadable." The two debate the book and go their separate ways. Is this the last of Nora and Charlie? Of course not, but you have to read to find out what happens next.
"Book Lovers" isn't just a romantic love story but also a love story about two sisters, Nora and her younger sister, Libby, whom she puts before all else. Their mother died years prior and Nora has felt overprotective of Libby ever since, and wants to solve all her problems (to Libby's annoyance). When a very pregnant Libby declares she wants to get away for a few weeks and visit Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, a quaint small town she's read about, Nora naturally says yes.
Just about every Hallmark movie -- and plenty of romance novels -- feature a protagonist from a big city who find themselves in a small town where they learn about themselves, what they want in life, and of course, find love. While "Book Lovers" has that scenario, it also deconstructs it. Nora is unapologetic about working hard and not wanting children of her own. She's not looking to change her ways or her lifestyle.
The only confusing thing about Henry's books isn't really about Henry's writing at all, but about Hollywood. Why hasn't anyone snapped up one of her stories for an adaptation? Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made nine films together, fueled by their chemistry and banter. It's a safe bet that viewers would enjoy seeing Henry's characters come to life on screen.