From My Shelf of Read Books by Emily Henry

Emily Henry, in my opinion, is the queen of modern Rom Coms and never fails to deliver great natural and fun banter. Her books make the best summer reads. They are entertaining and light enough not to require much attention, yet with some depth and insight to keep you engaged in the lives of our romantic couple.

Here are some of my thoughts on Emily Henry’s books.

Book Lovers

Published in May 2022/Read

The Characters: Who are the lovable romantic couple, and how did they meet?

Nora and Charlie are not the typical couples you might find in RomComs. Neither are all that delightful or charming, and I loved both right from the start. They are both outsiders with the same ambitions and priorities. Nora is a driven, busy literary agent, too “cold” to be that lovely attentive love interest for some man. She is a “city person” but “not the one who meets the hot farmer. The other one” The uptight, manicured literary agent, reading manuscripts from atop her Peloton while a serene beach scene screen saver drifts, unnoticed, across her computer screen. “I’m the one who gets dumped.” Charlie is a grumpy stick-in-the-mud book editor and not that typical charming and handsome hero who returns home to save the day and gets the girl. He looks “like publishing’s own metropolitan vampire” whose demeanor is like a black hole “sucking all the light out and swallowing” up a room.

They meet to discuss a book by one of her favorite clients. Much to Nora’s dismay and disbelief, Charlie is not interested in editing the book because it is “unreadable” and the setting is “completely unrealistic.” Charlie would know!!!

Did I enjoy the banter? Yes!! Emily Henry keeps it real! It feel natural, funny, entertaining and not forced.

Tropes: What tropes are used, and do they feel fresh and exciting?

Nora works with books, reads them, and processes life in terms of tropes, because that’s her life that “governs her days.” The stand-out trope is the small-town love story, and there is “something truly new under the sun” here. The story has one of the best openings and hooks as Nora narrates her life through that overused small-town trope, and I was hooked.

Nora and Charlie do not fit the bill for your typical cynical hotshot heroes using that trope. Neither are that high-powered, neglecting everything and everyone but work who learn “the meaning of life” in a small town and are transformed by the love of a good woman or man. Emily Henry creates something fun, fresh, modern, and compelling here as she turns that trope on its head.

Relationship in Jeopardy: How are the characters tested?

Family is at the heart of the story here, and both Nora and Charlie put them first, defying those tropes around love coming first. Their relationship and devotion to their family test their growing relationship. Nora and Libby’s relationship is the heart of the story. Since their mother’s death, Libby has come first for Nora, and she will do anything for Libby. 

Charlie has some secrets that add to his family dynamics that test his building relationship with Nora. 

The Grand Gesture: Was there an incredible romantic line or moment that stood out?

The gesture here might not be grand but it fit this romantic or more like non romantic couple and I love it. There was an incredible romantic line that stood out for me but my lips are sealed.

Happy ending: Was I convinced they would have a happy life together or are they meant to be?

YES!!

Exciting, fresh and insightful

People We Meet on Vacation

Published in May 2021/Read in July 2021

Who are the lovable romantic couple, and how did they meet?

Poppy and Alex are opposites who attract. Alex is content reading a book in a bar, and Poppy is all fun and not the kind that involves a book. Everything about them seems nothing alike, but once the layers are pulled back, they might have more in common than they think.

They meet at a University orientation and not because of some clash, embarrassing situations, or misunderstandings like many romcoms. Their meet-cute is not all that cute but felt genuine and charming. However, Emily Henry gave us a different type of cute and fun meet-cute for them that hooked me.

Tropes: What tropes are used, and do they feel fresh and exciting?

Opposites attract, best friends to lovers, secretly in love with each other and a modern one: friendship breakups. I thought they were fresh and exciting!!

Banter: I loved their chemistry as friends, and Poppy brought the fun out of Alex. The connection between them that grew was the heart of the story. Their banter felt natural and not like they were trying to be funny. They just were! We see how their love quietly grew over the time they spent on their adventures together, and nothing felt forced on us.

Relationship in Jeopardy: How are the characters tested?

Poppy and Alex broke up as friends, and Poppy tries to make things right between them. She struggles with finding what she wants and starts to question her life. Their already fragile relationship is tested as she seeks answers about her life.

The Grand Gesture: Was there an incredible romantic line or moment that stood out?

Yes, Emily Henry takes that golden age grand gesture and spins something different and I loved it. Poppy’s grand gesture was not what I was expecting at all and it felt exciting, heart stopping yet genuine, and relatable.

Happy ending: Was I convinced they would have a happy life together or are they meant to be?

Even though I love their happy ending and think they are meant to be, I wasn’t that convinced they will make it. It does give me something to wonder about, and I still do even after reading it a while back.

Moving, heartwarming and Witty

Beach Read

Published and Read in May 2020

The Characters: Who are the lovable romantic couple, and how did they meet?

January and Gus are opposites who attract. They are both writers but write different genres. January is a romance writer, and Gus is a literary writer. They do have one thing in common, they both are experiencing writer’s block.

January and Gus are college rivals and now meet again when they rent lake houses for the summer and become neighbors.

Tropes: What tropes are used, and do they feel fresh and exciting?

Enemies to lovers. Emily Henry keeps the trope fresh and exciting by having January and Gus working together to learn each other’s genres. The rivalry between them was fun, entertaining and believable.

Banter: I didn’t enjoy the banter here as much as the above books. There is some rivalry between them, that is nicely balanced with the snarky yet caring and honest banter between them. The dynamics between them felt refreshing and real to me.

Relationship in Jeopardy: How are the characters tested?

Both January and Gus have well-developed conflicts with depth that test their relationship, and January is battling her own heart and no longer believes in love. Gus has never taken her writing seriously, straining their relationship. They engage in a summer-long challenge to write a book using each other’s genres, and their relationship is tested with every turn of the story.  

The Grand Gesture: Was there an incredible romantic line or moment that stood out?

Nope! Even though the gesture worked for January and Gus’s dynamics, it wasn’t all that exciting, and nothing really stood out for me.

Happy ending: Was I convinced they would have a happy life together or are they meant to be?

The ending was satisfying and happy enough, but it felt dragged out. It wasn’t as strong as an ending as I would have liked, and it didn’t convince me they would make it.

Penny for your thoughts!! Have you read any of these titles and enjoyed them as much as I did. Want to read them?

6 thoughts on “From My Shelf of Read Books by Emily Henry”

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