I received an Advance Readers’ Copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Beach Read is a bit of a departure for me as I don’t read a lot of romance. However, I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of the novel set to be released May 19th and it appealed to me as a fun and light read in this rather dark moment in history.
January Andrews is a romance writer. She’s written several successful novels that showcase her views on life. Namely that happy endings are possible and true love exists. Now she’s facing a deadline on her next book but she has a serious case of writer’s block. It isn’t simply that she can’t come up with a story, it’s that her entire perspective has been thrown into question. Her father’s recent and sudden death has thrown January into intense grief while also shedding a new light on her parent’s marriage, a relationship January always thought was perfect.
January finds herself in rural Michigan, at a house her father owned that she never knew existed. She hopes to both face the truth of her father and complete her novel, and maybe finally read the letter that he left her. Her next door neighbour turns out to be her college rival, a very successful literary author, Augustus Elliot. Gus is – surprise, surprise – brooding and handsome. While he and January have some history together, they don’t hit it off as neighbours but are – surprise, surprise – thrown together in this small town full of quirky characters. Before long they make a writing pact: Gus will write a romance novel and January will write something dark and disturbing. They’ll take turns providing each other with “lessons” for their respective writing styles. You see where this is going, right?
The chemistry between the two main characters is good and fun to read. January is a bit of a mess but understandably so as her life is in major flux and she’s questioning many of the elements around which she’s built her life. Gus is a pretty typical brooding and dark with a heart of gold leading man. He’s not particularly interesting but also not easy enough for us to like. The story doesn’t spend a lot of time with the two of them as enemies, which I appreciated since I find that a boring trope.
What I liked most about the story and what made it stand out from others of its type was its exploration into books themselves. January is a commercially successful author whose books are numerous and popular. Gus has written two books but, because his content is darker, is seen as more “literary”. Does this mean he’s a better writer? Both Gus and January write based on their views of the world and as we learn more about each of them, we see how this affects their writing styles.
If you’re looking for a fun, bookish read, this is a light and engaging novel and I can definitely see it doing well with readers this spring and summer.