Discover more from Tropes & Cheese
by Emily Henry
Okay so we are going STRONG with the orange book covers. Well, I guess this one is more yellow, but spoiler alert, the next one will be orange too. I swear I didn’t do it on purpose, I guess orange is just my color of the year.
This newsletter is focusing on the delightful Emily Henry book, Beach Read. Like I said, I kind of read all of her books out of order, but once you finish Book Lovers, The People We Meet on Vacation, and Beach Read, check her website for an extended epilogue where you see all your favorite couples crossing paths. It’s a delight.
Let’s dive in!
Book: Beach Read by Emily Henry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Spice Level: 🔥🔥🔥
Content Warning: Grief, Divorce, Infidelity, Cancer, Cults (but I swear, it’s a romance novel!)
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Small Town Romance, Forced Proximity
Full disclosure, the enemies-to-lovers trope is not always my favorite… unless Emily Henry writes it. She has a way of creating an enemies-to-lovers story that is less focused on the enemies part, and more focused on the characters getting to know one another in a new way and growing to like (and eventually love) each other. (I don’t have patience for characters who viciously hate each other the entire time and then finally kiss and realize they love each other in Act III. Fear not, this is not that.)
Beach Read’s heroine, January (amazing name), is dealing with a LOT (loss of a parent, bad breakup, earthshattering news that makes her rethink everything she has ever known, you know, the uszh) causing her to lose her faith in the all-powerful “Happily Ever After,” which is really really bad because she writes romance novels for a living.
To make matters worse, she runs into - and moves in next to - her college nemesis, Gus, who is also a writer but writes the exact opposite of a Happily Ever After.
January and Guss each kind of roll their eyes at each other’s chosen genres, but as they’re both dealing with incapacitating writers' block, and the lack of money that comes with such a block, they decide to make a bet. They each write a book in the other’s genre, and whoever sells their book first, wins. They coach each other on how to conduct research for their chosen genres, and delightfulness ensues.
Okay, lots of content to warn you about here, but hear me out - yes it’s a lot, but it’s nothing too graphic. I just want you to know what you’re walking into.
Grief: January is dealing with the loss of a parent and the realization that they weren’t the person she thought she knew.
Divorce: Divorce sucks, and it sucks in this story. Less so because of the divorce itself, but more so because of how it altered this person’s outlook on love.
Infidelity: There are two storylines here where infidelity plays a part, and it shows how it forces the others affected to make hard decisions. In both instances, the affairs were in the past, so the actual deeds aren’t something you read through in this book.
Cancer: One of the characters recalls her mother’s (successful!) battles with cancer, but it is mentioned fairly often, so just a heads up.
Cults: Gus decides to set his Happily Ever After book in a cult, like ya do. He interviews some people closely related to a cult that was in the area, and even goes to visit the site where it once was. Spooky stuff for a romance novel, but really gripping!
Now, how to make your reading experience a bit more fun?
🍹 Drink Pairing: At the beginning of the book, January is struggling with some stuff, and to bolster her courage, drinks gin straight out of what sounds like it was probably a plastic bottle. You know, the good stuff. Don’t worry, this is NOT my drink suggestion. Mine is the Blue Lagoon, which is what I thiiink Maggie was going for with her 4th of July signature cocktail. Hopefully these are a little more palatable than Maggie’s though. Cheers!
🎶 Playlist Suggestion: I made this playlist based on songs that were mentioned in the book, plus some that I thought just fit the vibe. It’s definitely a varied mix of emotions, so pop it on shuffle and get ready for a random ride!
🛍 Etsy Listings: January’s wardrobe consists mostly of cutoff shorts and a t-shirt bearing the faces of various musical icons. I imagine she had shirts like this Joni Mitchell one, this David Bowie one, this Stevie Nicks one, or this Dolly Parton one. Also, I need them all.
As always, I encourage you to see if Beach Read is available from your local, indie bookstore. Don’t know where one is? Try this Indie Bookstore Finder! You can also purchase it directly from Emily Henry’s website.
Your local library is also a great place to look for this and other books. And, of course, all the big-name booksellers will certainly have what you’re looking for.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Also, if you have a cute beach cabin in Michigan, please let me know if I can visit.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
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