cover image Showmance


Chad Beguelin. Penguin Books, $19 (336p) ISBN 978-0-14-313839-6

Playwright Beguelin’s sparkling debut novel sees Broadway musical writer Noah Adams returning home to rural Plainview, Ill., after his father suffers a heart attack. Noah is suffering, too; Stage of Fools, his adaptation of King Lear, has “joined the list of tragic musicals that opened and closed in one night.” Once home, Noah learns his high school nemesis, Luke Carter, is now working for Noah’s family; making matters worse, Luke’s as attractive as ever. When Noah’s asked to direct a production of Stage of Fools for the local community theater, he thinks he’s hit a new low—especially once the town’s amateur thespians start making changes to the show. But as the superior Noah is humbled, he realizes both that the locals’ tinkering has improved his show, and that he might have misjudged Luke. A cozy hot-air balloon ride with Luke releases some of Noah’s sarcasm and disdain as he comes to see his former bully in a new light. As the men fall in love, the idea of going back to New York becomes heartbreaking. Peppered with witty one-liners and many musical theater references, this charming, zippy romance hits all the right notes. Agent: Mollie Glick and Lola Bellier, CAA. (Sept.)