Cover of A Novel Love Story, featuring a woman looking around a book and a man coming out of the pages

About the Book

Title: A Novel Love Story
Published: 2024
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

First Impressions: Textual
What’s Your Type? Grumpy/Sunshine, Enemies to Lovers, Book Boyfriends Come to Life, Magical Realism
Meet Cute: Move, B***h
The Lean: Rocky Road
Dirty Talk: Sweetheart
We Need to Talk: Missing Magic
Was it Good For You? Left Wanting

First Impressions: Textual

I love the title treatment of this cover, and the colors are brilliant. The people on the bottom are cute, too, if a bit confusing. It’s very close to a Montell Jordan, but not quite.

What’s Your Type?

  • Grumpy/Sunshine
  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Book Boyfriends Come to Life
  • Magical Realism

Dating Profile

English professor and self-described book lover Eileen “Elsy” Merriweather has had enough of love–unless it’s the kind she can find between the covers of a good romance novel. She looks forward to her annual trip with her book club to a cabin in upstate New York every year, but this year she’s going alone. 

Anderson Sinclair is the owner of a bookstore in a small town, and the kind of person who’d make a perfect (book) boyfriend—he’s tall, handsome, with minty green eyes* and golden hair—if he didn’t have such an unpleasant demeanor.

Meet Cute: Move, B***h

Elsy’s heading toward the cabin for her solo book club trip when a downpour hits. She makes her way off the highway into a small town … where her car promptly breaks down, right after she nearly hits a man standing in the middle of the road. She soon realizes that the town she’s stranded in is the town from her favorite romance series—Quixotic Falls—and all the residents are characters from the books. Including the man standing in the middle of the street, who Elsy believes is the hero of the unfinished fifth novel.

The Lean: Rocky Road

The start of Elsy and Anders’s relationship is a rocky one. And even after she starts warming up to him, Elsy doesn’t see it going places, considering that he’s fictional. (And she might be dying in a ditch, who knows.) But she can’t help but fall for his *minty green eyes—the description of which is repeated, often—and his love of books.

Dirty Talk: Sweetheart

Anders doesn’t seem like someone who’d do much dirty talking—he’s far too buttoned up—but he surprises Elsy when they finally kiss.

And when I snagged his lip again, he groaned and held on to me tighter, breaking apart just long enough to growl, “Gentle, sweetheart,” before he kissed me again.

And fuck, I didn’t know if it was his main character magic, or the fact that I’d never been called sweetheart with such hunger, but it burned deep in my middle, below where the butterflies burrowed and lay dead for years. His heroine could have him tomorrow, I wanted to have him now, this second, in my m—

His buttoned-up nature is obviously a “stick in the mud in the streets, freak in the sheets” kind of situation.

Ed. note: This quote was pulled from a pre-release edition of the book. The final text might be different.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Poston’s writing is excellent, filled with lovely moments of description and lush imagery. Her prose never gets too purple, but there are moments that get close. Especially when passions are high. (The spice in this novel is around 3rd base level; anything past that is a fade to black.)

We startled away from each other. Our chests were heaving, our lips red and swelled from the kisses, his pupils blown wide as he drank me in, wanting nothing more than to taste me again, and I’m sure mine were the same.

Ed. note: Same as above.

We Need to Talk: Missing Magic

I have come to adore the mix of romance and magic in Poston’s adult contemporary romances. And I loved the idea of someone falling into the town from their favorite book series; goodness knows I’ve long wanted to vacation in places like Ravka. But the fact that the Quixotic Falls book series isn’t real, and isn’t something I’ve read, put a damper on the magic of A Novel Love Story. Elsy knows these characters inside and out, and because of that, we as readers don’t get the opportunity to learn much about them. Additionally, Elsy is a frustrating main character because of her self-depreciating ways—I feel for her and her broken-hearted past, but at some point it turns into pity, and that’s not what I want to feel for a main character.

Then there’s Anders, who, while being attractive in both a literal and figurative sense, falls a little flat. I wanted to know more about him than the fact that he had minty green eyes. (It’s seriously mentioned SO MANY times.)

Was it Good For You? Left Wanting

A Novel Love Story didn’t quite hit for me, not like Poston’s other books (A Seven Year Slip and The Dead Romantics). Everything about this book should have been perfect for me, but there was just something off about the whole experience. That’s not to say that it wasn’t an entertaining read, but I feel a bit hollow after finishing (hey-o!). 

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Berkley, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. A Novel Love Story is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.