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Book Review: A love letter to bookworms in “Book Lovers”

Emily Henry has done it again. As if I couldn’t fall more in love with her work (“People We Meet on Vacation,” “Beach Read”), Henry drops her newest romance novel, “Book Lovers,” which now takes the first place spot of my favorite books by her.

Nora Stephens, a cutthroat literary agent, desperately needs a vacation from her clients. She loves being her client’s heroine, but she’s forgotten how to be the hero of her own story. Hence, her younger sister Libby plans a bucket-list trip to find Nora’s inner heroine.

Their girls’ trip brings them to the sleepy town of Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. Nora keeps bumping into her rival, Charlie Lastra, a brooding book editor she’s scorned for years. Yet, Nora and Charlie keep running into each other in Sunshine Falls and decide to team up to save the local bookstore. This partnership will have both of them reevaluate the stories they’ve written for themselves.

As an insatiable lover of the enemies-to-lovers trope, “Book Lovers” is a dream for my fellow bookworms. Nora and Charlie’s characterizations are profoundly nuanced and relatable moments without typical romance novel clichés. Throughout the entirety of “Book Lovers,” I kept saying to myself, “I’d do the same thing,” which is a rarity for me. Nora’s stubbornness and ambition paired with Charlie’s aloofness and arrogance is a match made only in novels–yet juxtaposed masterfully in perfect Henry fashion. Their mutually supportive and kind relationship will have readers everywhere sighing over their enemies-to-lovers journey. Henry, once again, writes characters that pull at the heartstrings and connect with readers on a level no other romance author has ever achieved.

Rather than change Nora’s ambition, Henry refuses to punish our heroine for her hard work and dreams–something too many romance novels do to their female characters. Nora isn’t given an ultimatum to have love or a career but keeps both. I’ve read plenty of romance novels in my lifetime. Still, this character choice is one I’ve seen rarely and a welcome change for young women (like me) who are just starting their careers and are told by society that to have a fruitful life, you must choose between love and career.

The other themes surrounding grief and family are told with an authenticity that sometimes feels a little too real. Nora’s long-held promise to protect her sister in any way possible is so utterly accurate for older sisters that I found myself having to put down “Book Lovers” multiple times to process my ideas as the eldest daughter.

Swoon-worthy, relatable, and a love letter to book lovers everywhere, “Book Lovers” will definitely be your favorite romance novel of the year, if not the decade. With just the right amount of steamy encounters and complex family dynamics, this novel is the perfect romance to fall in love with.

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