Beach Read is an odd example of a charming romance that I liked a lot, even though I found that I didn’t much like the two main characters.
Romance novelist January is reeling — her father died, her boyfriend broke up with her, and she found out (AT HER FATHER’S FUNERAL) that her parents’ marriage wasn’t the perfect love story that she always imagined.
She has a book deadline coming up, but she has no ideas and nowhere to live, so she moves into her dad’s secret lake house up on Lake Michigan, planning to drink gin, write her book, and get the house ready to sell.
She meets the quirky townspeople we expect in a book like this, including the coffee shop/bookstore owner (Pete) and her professor wife, January’s best pal in Chicago who falls in love every few weeks (Shadi), and the OTHER best-selling author in town, Augustus Everett, a Jonathan Franzen-esque LITERARY FICTION writer, who just happens to live in the beach house next door.
January and Gus actually went to college together, and she always resented him because she felt that he didn’t take her writing — always with happy endings — seriously.
Gus is also having trouble with his next book, so they make a bet. He’ll write a romantic story, and she’ll write something more serious, and if one of them sells their book before the other one does, the loser has to write a positive blurb and do some publicity for the winner.
So. The story is fine, the romance is cute (sort of?), the town is nice, and I want to live in a cute lake house.
There were a handful of times where Gus’ behavior PISSED ME OFF. He does some not very nice things and never really gave the apology I was looking for to January, other than that he’s complicated and whatever.
And January is supposed to be cute as a button and charming, but I had major issues with her relationship with her parents…which, I get I was supposed to. But I never really found January to be all the wonderful or likable and was sort of confused by the way that everyone thought she was such a ray of light.
Not a huge deal, because I really liked the story and the writing. (OH, SPOILER, EXCEPT FOR THE WEIRD STUFF ABOUT THE CULT?). It’s definitely a more serious book than I expected, and I appreciated that. I just wish I had liked the main couple a little bit more.