‘Book Lovers’ is a romance driven by fast teasing

“Book Lovers” by Emily Henry. (Berkley)

If Emily Henry makes herself laugh at the character’s dialogue in her own books, that’s understandable. She’s a master of witty remarks.

In his latest novel, “Book Lovers”, Henry introduces Nora Stephens and Charlie Lafra. Nora is the literary agent and Charlie is the book editor. The two meet once about an upcoming book Charlie could edit, and both make a bad impression. A few minutes before, Nora was dumped by her boyfriend over the phone. She’s late and Charlie’s grumpy. Nor is he a fan of the book, which Nora pitches and calls it “unreadable.” The two debate the book and go their separate ways. Is this the last of Nora and Charlie? Of course not, but you have to read to find out what happens next.

“Book Lovers” is not just a romantic love story, but also a love story about two sisters, Nora and her younger sister, Libby, whom she puts before anything else. Their mother died years earlier and Nora has felt overprotective towards Libby ever since and wants to solve all her problems (to Libby’s annoyance). When a heavily pregnant Libby declares that she would like to go away for a few weeks and visit Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, a cozy little town she has read about, Nora naturally says yes.

Almost every Hallmark movie – and lots of romantic novels – has a protagonist from a big city who is in a small town, where they learn about themselves, what they want in life, and of course, find love. While “Book Lovers” has that scenario, it deconstructs it as well. Nora is not apologetic for working hard and did not want her own children. She does not want to change her ways or her lifestyle.

The only confusion about Henry’s books is not really about Henry’s writing at all, but about Hollywood. Why has no one snapped one of her stories for an adaptation? Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made nine films together, driven by their chemistry and teasing. It’s certain viewers would enjoy watching Henry’s characters come to life on screen.

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