Emily Henry's endearing Book Lovers centers on Nora Stephens, a shrewd literary agent who has somehow been cast in the role of "Evil Villainess" in her own life. She's been dumped no less than three times by boyfriends who have left the city on some temporary basis but who fall in love with the small-town vibes--and a small-town girl, decidedly unlike Nora. She tells herself she's made peace with that, pouring her heart into work and her younger sister, Libby, the only family she has left after their mother's death. When her sister invites her on a much-needed vacation to a small town in North Carolina, she doesn't expect Libby's Life-Changing Vacation List, drawn straight from a "small-town romance novel experience," to be actually life-changing. But when the "Dour, Unappeasable, Stick-in-the-Mud" editor she knows from New York shows up in the same small town, sparks fly and lives are, in fact, changed.
Like Henry's past novels (Beach Read), Book Lovers uses classic romance tropes with purpose and intention, offering readers a satisfying romance unto itself, while also reflecting on why romance novels are so enticing to begin with. Henry draws in themes of family and mental health, holding and taking space for self and loved ones, and the power of books to heal, soothe and reveal. "This book has crushed me with its weight and dazzled me with its tiny bright spots," says Nora of a new manuscript she's working on with a client. These words could describe Book Lovers, a smart, charming and dazzling book unto itself. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer