cover image Beach Read

Beach Read

Emily Henry. Berkley, $16 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-9848-0673-4

Henry (Hello Girls) hits all the right notes with this clever, compassionate contemporary romance. January Andrews, a 29-year-old romance author, has always believed in happily-ever-after. Then her father dies and she inherits his secret lake house in North Bear Shores, Mich., and discovers his long-standing extramarital affair. Broke and suffering from writer’s block, January’s moves into the “lakeside cottage brimming with charm and proof your father was an asshole and your life has been a lie.” Her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the tortured darling of the literary fiction world. Their contentious front-porch chats lead them to construct a challenge: they’ll each spend the summer writing a novel in the other’s genre, giving one another tutorials in their respective approaches and going on research trips together. Whoever finishes and sells their book first, wins. January’s struggle to reconcile her inherent optimism with the recent upheaval in her life is thoroughly convincing and handled with empathy. Her and Augustus’s path from writing partners to friends to lovers is a constant delight and the inevitable third act communication issues are deeply rooted in the characters’ psychology, making them believable and fresh. Readers are sure to fall hard for this meta, heartfelt take on the romance genre. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (May)