Review: BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry
Also by this author: Beach Read
Published by BERKLEY on May 3, 2022
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Emily Henry’s new novel Book Lovers follows Nora Stephens, a top notch literary agent in Manhattan. She’s great at what she does, has a take no prisoners attitude, and thus has earned herself a reputation as a shark in the industry. Nora also has a softer side though, when it comes to her younger sister, Libby. They lost their mom when they were young and so Nora has practically raised Libby. Even though Libby is a grown, married woman with baby number three on the way, Nora still deems herself Libby’s protector and the person who fixes things so that Libby is always happy and safe. So when Libby announces she and Nora are going to get away from New York for an adventure before the new baby arrives, of course Nora drops everything and follows Libby, to of all random places, Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, the tiny town that inspired one of Nora’s client’s most famous novels.
I really adored Nora and liked that we got to see both that tough, driven workaholic side of her personality as well as the softer, more vulnerable, yet ultra-protective side that comes out whenever she’s with her sister. You can just tell that Nora and Libby have been through a lot together and their close bond is very moving to witness. I also loved that as part of their trip to Sunshine Falls, Libby has created a “bucket list” of sorts for her and Nora to complete – wear flannel, date a local, go skinny dipping, etc. Libby’s list lends itself to many entertaining, often laugh out loud moments as it forces Nora way outside of her comfort zone.
Watching the sisters interact was definitely a highlight of Book Lovers for me, but that’s not to say the romantic element was any less satisfying. In fact, it was pretty spectacular, particularly if you’re into romance of the slow-burn variety with witty banter that moves from sharp and cutting to increasingly flirtatious the closer the characters become to one another. Even though Nora wasn’t a fan at first, I really loved Charlie Lastra from the first moment we meet him, mainly because he really gives Nora a run for her money in the shark department. He’s a broody editor type who is not impressed by Nora showing up late for their meeting and isn’t bashful about telling her this. The fireworks between them are immediate, and even though Nora swears she can’t stand the guy, she also can’t stop thinking about him. When he also shows up in Sunshine Falls unexpectedly and runs into Nora, the sparks just keep flying. I loved watching their relationship grow once they each get past their initial impressions of one another. It turns out that Charlie is actually from Sunshine Falls and is home dealing with some complicated family issues. Henry excels at writing realistic characters with messy lives, and both Nora and Charlie fit the bill. As the older sibling in my family, I could relate to many of the things each character was trying to work their way through. That said, I was also very much rooting for them to team up and face life’s challenges together.
I love Emily Henry’s books anyway, but Book Lovers truly felt like it was custom-made for me. I love New York and I love small town settings, and I get both with this book. I also adore book loving characters and the enemies-to-lovers romance trope, and again, I get both here. Lastly and perhaps the biggest draw of all, the sisterly bond between Nora and Libby, and all of the complicated family issues facing both Nora and Charlie. If you’re familiar with my blog and the types of books I tend to gush over, you already know that Book Lovers checked pretty much all the boxes for me. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it ultimately left me with a smile on my face. I think Emily Henry has another winner on her hands with Book Lovers.