Review: Beach Read

So, here's a thing - contemporary romance is not a genre I've read much of since I was in my late teens. There's no particular reason why, it's just not been the thing that's been floating my boat. Until, that is, right now.
Perhaps there's something about being in lock down and starved of physical touch (wow I want a hug so bad) that makes me want to read about other lovely fictional people falling in love. My own happy ever after feels (socially) distant right now, so it's nice to escape into a word where good things happen.

Or maybe I'm overthinking it and I've just been in the mood to read some romance.

Either way, I read Emily Henry's Beach Read recently and oh my goodness I am so enamoured. This book is an absolute delight of a read and it was exactly what my slightly bitter soul needed.

The premise is simple - January is on a deadline and she's in a slump. She's inherited a house in a sleepy beach town and so she heads there, hoping the space will help her to write - her Dad died recently and when he did some long buried secrets came to the fore and she's rather disenchanted with the idea of romance which is, not great for a romance novelist. Her plan is foolproof but her plan does not take into account Gus.

Gus is also a writer, of literary fiction, he's also struggling to get pen to paper and he's living next door.

January and Gus are kind of at loggerheads and end up making what seems like a ridiculous deal - Gus's next book will be a romance; January will try writing in his genre and they'll teach other the ways of the other. Writing her not-romance gives January the chance to really explore her grief and teaching sexy but grumpy Gus how to write romance means she gets to teach him about romance.

And then - spoiler alert - they get it on.

God, it's just so adorable this book. I lapped it up. January and Gus are fabulous, well developed and complex characters with well developed and complex backstories and I don't know what I liked the most, watching these two idiots fall in love, or watching them figure out their individual shit. January's thing in particular, which revolved around the discovery that the person she'd had on a pedestal her whole life was ultimately as flawed as anybody else, was bittersweet and watching her draw Gus out of himself was just gorgeous.

I think that's why I loved it so much if I'm honest - it is a fun sweet enemies - to - lovers type story, lighthearted and full of banter, but it's also more than that, it goes deeper. Some of the stuff in here is heavy - January and Gus have had a run of bad luck and watching them deal with that felt honest and raw and I loved that it had all these different aspects. Paint by numbers romance this was not.

The beach town setting is fabulous, the secondary characters - especially Gus's Aunt / local coffee-bookshop owner and her partner especially - are absolutely delicious and basically this whole book was just exactly what I needed right now. This was the book that I needed.

Beach Read is out in the middle of this month, You would be remiss to not add it to your list of summer reads. I promise you'll have fun.