Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Beach Read, by Emily Henry

Berkley, ISBN 9781984806734, May 2020

January Andrews and Gus Everett met in college, and clashed rather than connected. They were both aspiring writers, but with very different styles and goals.

Some years later, January is a successful "happily ever after" romance writer, with three books to her credit, and Gus is a serious literary writer with two successful and well-received books.

Also, January's father has died, and his lover shows up for the funeral, and gives January a letter from her father, and a key. It turns out that January's mother knew about the lover, Sonya, and Does Not Want To Talk About Any Of It.  January is devastated, and for now, can't see past the wreckage of her illusions of her parents' happy marriage to write her next book, which is under contract and has a due date.

The key Sonya gave her is to a beach house on Lake Michigan, that her father has left to her. She heads there, planning to work on her book while also working on selling first the contents of the house, and then selling the house. When she arrives, she soon finds that her next door neighbor is now Gus Everett.

Once again, they do not hit it off.

Slowly, we realize that Gus has his own case of writer's block, and much more slowly, we find out what emotional trauma is behind that for him.

In a small town, and with the coffee shop and the bookstore in town both owned by Gus's friendly, outgoing aunt, not to mention living next door, they can't avoid each other. And despite making rude cracks about each other's writing choices, they make a deal to tackle their writer's block.

January will write a serious, dark novel with an unhappy ending.

Gus will write a funny, happy-ending romcom.

On Fridays, Gus will lead January through the process of researching his characteristic kind of novel.. On Saturdays, January will lead Gus through researching a romcom.

We get to know very well-developed, likable characters. Henry does a nice job of building these characters through the gradual revelation of their past experiences, and growing acquaintance with the people who matter to them. It's enjoyable and funny and serious, and well worth some of your time.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, and am reviewing it  voluntarily.

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