Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
It’s the first of April, a date for jokes and pranks perhaps, but also a date that means we’re heading well and truly into Spring, and also headed for a few days of break for Easter. All of these things, in my mind, call for a fun read that is also not devoid of substance—so my Book of the Week this week is Emily Henry’s engrossing romance novel, Beach Read.
The story follows January Andrews, a romantic fiction author going though a dry spell of writing that is initially not helped by the discovery, at her father’s funeral, that he’d had a double life of sorts. It turns out he had an ongoing lover in the beach town where he’d grown up, despite also sticking with January’s ailing mother—who, it turns out knew about the affair. January goes to pack up the beach house that her father had shared with this other woman, and discovers that her neighbour there is Gus Everett, a man she went to college with who has now become a wildly successful so-called ‘literary’ author in his own right. He’s also someone she had an inconvenient crush on, which is rekindled when the two begin to exchange sparky, funny banter with the chance to interact again in the present day. They wind up challenging each other to try writing their next novels in one another’s genre—Gus is to write a romantic story, and January is to write something darker and less optimistic than her usual fare. The two find that not only is their mutual creativity stimulated by this challenge, but, of course, they also find themselves pulled deeper into attraction, and even love.
The book reads like a perfect, sassy, savvy romantic comedy, layered with emotion that not only stems from the love story that unfolds at its centre. We also understand a great deal about the grief and confusion January faces at trying to reconcile the family life she thought was one thing, but turns out to have been something else, and there is a palpable depth to the manner in which she and Gus connect. It’s all testament to the three dimensional nature of the way Emily Henry has crafted these characters, but more than anything, this book is the perfect romantic read that you’ll devour, say, in a few days of (hopeful) sunshine over a short break. That is why Beach Read by Emily Henry is my Book of the Week this week.