About the Book

Title: Book Lovers
Published: 2022
Swoonworthy Scale: 10

First Impressions: You Again?
Meet Cute: Let’s Do Lunch
The Lean: The Wittiest of Banters
Dirty Talk: Sexy But Sophisticated
We Need to Talk: A Rom-Com for Rom-Com Lovers
Was It Good For You? A Seven-Hour Ride

First Impressions: You Again?

I guess I can’t really be mad at this cartoon cover, considering that Emily Henry’s books are all variations on a theme. This one fits the bill, it’s cute, the main characters look exactly how you expect them to. It’s not the most creative but overall, it’s pretty inoffensive.

What’s Your Type?

  • Rivals to Lovers
  • Small Town Romance
  • Witty Banter
  • Books About Books

Dating Profile

Nora Stephens isn’t the heroine in a rom-com. She’s the uptight, waspy, city girl who is dating the leading man when he inevitably throws his life in the city away to manage a failing inn in Vermont with a girl that wears overalls. Nora is the blood-thirsty literary agent who gets dumped for the heroine in the rom-com. She’s the Patricia Eden, the Vivian Kensington. She doesn’t get the happy ending.

But when Nora’s little sister Libby drags her to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina to spend a month living out their Hallmark-movie dreams, Nora gets a chance to feel what it might be like to be the romance novel sweetheart. Maybe she’ll have a change of heart, maybe she’ll fall in love with a guy who rides horses. Or maybe she’ll find herself thrown together with her professional rival, the brooding, acclaimed book editor Charlie Lastra.

For Nora and Charlie, books are life. They know how stories are built and how they end. They know how to craft a happy ending. But when it comes to their evolving feelings for one another, not even the best minds in the business can figure out a way for them to both end up with everything they want.

Meet Cute: Let’s Do Lunch

Nora is a passionate literary agent who believes in and fights for her clients. Her biggest client, Dusty, has recently written a new manuscript that Nora thinks has major commercial appeal. She sets up a meeting with Charlie Lastra, the scowling wunderkind editor at Loggia Publishing, to pitch the story. But Charlie shuts her down before they’ve even ordered appetizers. He doesn’t think Dusty’s new novel has what it takes, and now they’re forced to eat their goat cheese salads in simmering silence.

Fast forward two years and Dusty’s book is an international best seller with a movie adaptation to boot. When Nora and her sister Libby travel to Sunshine Falls, Charlie Lastra is the last(ra) person she expects to run into. It’s impossible to avoid each other in a town so small, and even more impossible for Nora to not be a LITTLE smug that Charlie passed on Dusty’s huge hit of a book.

The Lean: The Wittiest of Banters

From While You Were Sleeping, Bill Pullman explains attraction to Sandra Bullock

OH MY GOD the banter in this book is like a drug. Nora and Charlie are both smart, both witty and clever, both writer-adjacent. They always have the perfect comeback, or a funny jab to make at each other’s expense. Their teasing never fell victim to feeling immature or overly mean. And the jokes are really, truly funny. I had this huge grin on my face the entire time I was reading. Every time Nora’s joke landed and Charlie’s perma-scowl turned into a pouty grin, or every time Charlie’s teasing gave away how much he paid attention to Nora, I wanted to explode into flames.

Dirty Talk: Sexy But Sophisticated

If you’ve read any of Emily Henry’s adult romances, you know that she’s not gonna use vulgar words to refer to anyone’s parts, and she’s not going to pull a Sarah J. Maas and consistently talk about bodily, uh, liquids when writing sex scenes. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, I’ve read all those books – some of them twice! But Henry is especially talented at writing panty-meltingly spicy sex scenes with writerly restraint. In Book Lovers, the foreplay is in the build-up, so that by the time Nora and Charlie give in to their urges, I was ready to spontaneously combust. These two could take out the recycling together and it would feel sexy. But don’t worry, the foreplay isn’t ALL in the build-up. There is still, in fact, actual foreplay.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

I feel totally out of control, and what’s more, I can see how much he likes seeing me like this, and it’s only fanning the flame. I want to be out of control. I want him to see me like this and know he’s the reason why. His hand roams down my side until it reaches the spike of my heel, hitching my leg higher, coiling it around his hips as we try to get closer.

If we had anywhere more private to go, we’d already be gone.

“I want to go down on you so badly,” he rasps into my mouth, my heart spiking.

“I want to go down on you,” I tell him.

He gives a low laugh. “Everything’s a competition with you.”

We Need to Talk: A Rom-Com for Rom-Com Lovers

I won’t lie, I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to contemporary romance novels if I feel they’re bordering on (or taking a deep dive into) cringiness. But Henry’s books never do me wrong. Her writing is always so good and her romances well crafted. And not just the romances! In Book Lovers, Henry tackles grief and complicated family dynamics with aplomb, and her characters are full of such depths and complexities and faults that they really felt like REAL people.

But back to the romance: long looks, knees pressed together under tables, and banter so witty, SO CRISP, it feels like snapping a satisfyingly thin wafer. Every interaction between Nora and Charlie – and there are a lot, Henry is generous with their shared page time – raised goosebumps over my skin.

More importantly, this book never fell victim to lost momentum after the main characters finally get it on. There are some external circumstances trying to keep our heroes apart, and even though I KNEW this was a romance novel and Henry wouldn’t do us dirty and withhold a HEA, she kept me guessing at how it would end until the very last page.

Was It Good For You? A Seven-Hour Ride

Diner scene from When Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan pretending she's having an orgasm.

Get your minds out of the gutter. I’m talking about a seven hour CAR ride. I DEVOURED this book in the car on the way home from a trip to New Orleans. Like I didn’t even pretend to offer to drive some and give my husband a break. I could not physically stop myself from reading. We know that Henry is damn good at this already, but Book Lovers is, IMHO, her best yet. She crafts a slow burn that grows into a flame so hypnotic, so seamlessly, that I had to occasionally remind myself to breathe.

FTC Full Disclosure: I did not receive money or Girl Scout cookies of any kind (not even the gross cranberry ones) for writing this review. Book Lovers is available now.

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Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.