A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
Beach Read is a delightfully captivating romance, and a touching gem for happy ending devotees.
January Andrews arrives in North Bear Shores to get away from life’s stresses, tie up loose ends, and begin writing her fifth romance novel. Augustus Everett has lived in North Bear Shores for about five years, and is stuck in a creative rut when it comes to creating his next literary bestseller. To say the two characters are opposite is an understatement. They playing in two completely different fields!
January is a romantic at heart, forever chasing the idea of a happily ever after. Gus is much more of a realistic, he takes the world as it is, rather than how he’d like to be. Still, January and Gus have their insecurities and burdens. Despite their differences, both characters are extremely likeable. It’s quite easy to relate to both. I’m a hopeless romantic and enjoy getting lost in a love story, so every one of January’s beliefs makes sense to me. At the same time, I’m well aware life events don’t always play out like a rom-com, so Gus’ reservations make sense too.
It’s wonderful that both the characters are authors with the same struggle yet completely different ways of thinking. The reader gets insight into the book-writing process too. I also like that the entire narrative is told from January’s point of view, but we get a balanced understanding of both personalities.
The witty back-and-forth between January and Augustus is the most enjoyable part of the fiction for me. From the moment they spoke to one another, I was happy. Then to see their connection evolve, I was even happier. The author so perfectly creates a charming chemistry in just a few sentences. And the repartee between them felt very similar to the dynamic between Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal. There’s sarcasm and quick-witted humour but with a real levity to it. It’s compelling, exciting, and thoroughly entertaining.
Henry‘s method of description is so vivid it’s difficult not to place yourself in the world she has established. Some moments are so rich in detail I may as well be a background character in the book. Not only does her writing paint a clear picture, it pushes you to keep reading. The atmosphere and emotions are so authentic it’s difficult to stop at the end of one chapter.
The development of January and Gus’ characters is brilliantly laid out in Beach Read. Rather than experience one giant (and improbable) epiphany at the end of the book, the author slowly reveals their layers with each chapter. This way, the reader genuinely gets to know the characters, and it’s so much easier to connect with them. Seeing the story unwind in a timely way adds to the legitimacy of the romance.
Oh, and the romance. It’s so lovely. If you love books that make you fall in love with love, Beach Read should be your next read. The dynamic between January and Gus isn’t an all-out enemies-to-lovers trope, but has a very similar feel. The bet set at the beginning of the book creates an air of competition which is both playful and flirtatious. Their budding relationship is swoon-worthy without the cringe, which is the best kind of romance. I could easily see this tale on the screen!
Beach Read is way more emotional than I anticipated. The book is filled with passionate and deeply touching statements that are genuinely moving. One chapter made me cry from the first word to the last. On top of that, it has the humour and charisma like most contemporary romances, but the plot is laced with deep and heartfelt complexities.
Fortunately, the heavy themes don’t weigh down the narrative or take away from its most heart-warming aspects. In fact, the overall story is very uplifting and exhilarating – the way a romance should be. It’s the kind of book I would return to when I need to get out of a slump. It has the kind of fuzzy feels that make it both the perfect summer read and the best curl-up book.
If you pick up Beach Read, you’ll be glued to its pages. Emily Henry’s writing is addictive, and her powerful romance is definitely a new favourite. My expectations were high and still beaten.
Sadly, my physical copy doesn’t arrive til late August but the author and publisher were kind enough to send an eARC! So keep an eye out on my Instagram for the paperback copy photos!