What was the last book that really captivated you? And I’m not talking about the 5 or so pages you put away every night after your skincare routine in an attempt to limit your screen-time. I’m talking can’t-put-this-down, thinking-about-it-on-the-bus-home kind of read, the ones you cannot wait to finish whilst simultaneously feeling a bit sad about their imminent ending. For me, Book Lovers by Emily Henry is one of those reads.
Set in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, and very smartly named to pique any literary-lover’s interest (Henry’s Marketing Team – we see you!), the book follows literary-agent Nora as she embarks on a one month holiday with sister, Libby. Acutely-aware of the simplistic plots that characterise both books and life (see: city man falls in love with small-town girl, cut-throat career woman experiences change of heart in a country farm, rich white male learns life is more than money after life-threatening accident, and so forth), Nora is certain that such narratives are not destined for her. However, a series of meetings with editor Charlie Lastra may push Nora to re-evaluate the limiting stories she has been writing about herself all along.
With the witty repartee between the two and plenty of will-they-won’t-they tension, you would be forgiven for assuming this book is a romance novel. Instead, the focus of the book is the relationship between Nora and Libby, the complexities of sisterhood and the dynamics of family life. This book pushes us to reflect – how many times do we subject ourselves, and those we love, to limiting narratives? And, how many times do we self-sacrifice in the name of those we love without actually being asked to do so in the first place? Henry’s razor-sharp insights on change, introspection and self-actualisation are powerful enough to provoke reflection yet, rather impressively, digestible enough to be washed-down with a glass of wine pool-side.
Pick this up for gorgeous descriptions of Autumn in New York (making even the most hard-core summer-lover crave the change of season) and continue reading for fun adventures and hilarious satire on literary-clichés. Most importantly, add Book Lovers to your bookshelf as a reminder that even the life we didn’t expect or plan for can be quite remarkable and, indeed, way better than any story we could ever read about.
What’s your summer read of 2022? Tell us @squiggles_comms – we are a nosey bunch!