When I think of Emily Henry, I think kisses. I don’t know what it is, but the woman has the ability to write kisses really well–they feel different, they feel specific, they feel evocative. That’s not a silly thing to point out, I don’t think. In Romancelandia, there’s a lot of kisses going on so it really does take something to stand out.
Suffice to say, she continues to do the same thing here, so when it comes to consistency she’s 10/10.
Otherwise, of all her books this one is the one that hit me most in the feels. I thought the “hate” relationship between Nora and Charlie is a bit forced (and rushed). But as it were, and as I continued to read, I realized this book isn’t really about an enemies to lovers type relationship, at least not between Nora and Charlie. It’s Nora against herself, against every message that society gives women about what it means to be a “good” partner.
Nora is the Meredith in Parent Trap. She’s the (blond) career woman in the big city who cannot understand why anyone would want to leave and become a Christmas tree farmer in Wisconsin. And as such, she’s not a Christmas tree farmer in Wisconsin type woman. She has a life, a career, and a certain amount of space she’s held out for friends, family, and relationships
It’s that last one that she’s made to feel terrible about. If you’re a good partner, you’d want to spend all your time together. If you’re a good sister, you’d be able to spend a week vacation without being on your phone. If you’re normal, these things wouldn’t be weird. But Henry is writing for those of us for whom these aren’t “normal,” and who spend all of our time swimming uphill in a world that tells us we’re weird, broken, and unloveable.
So yeah, in a nutshell this book hit me in all the feels. It’s a great novel! [and I’ve never been so nervous about a HEA before. It almost felt like a Mhairi McFarlane novel in that way, except that I don’t associate Henry with those sorts of endings. For me, an ending where Nora gave us anything that she wanted would have been a bittersweet one. Transference much?]