Okay so I’m not a romance reader. It’s very rare that I would gravitate to a romance novel but there are always exceptions. Beach Read was very much an exception. And do you know what? I absolutely loved it! So today I’m going to be sharing with you my spoiler-free review of Beach Read by Emily Henry!
by Emily Henry
Year of Publication: 2020
Format: Kindle eBook (361 pages)
Parental death, divorce, affairs, Cancer, parental illness, references to a cult, distressing imagery of death by fire, alcohol abuse, drug use, domestic violence/abuse, child abuse and neglect, scenes of a sexual nature
He doesn’t believe in happy endings.
She’s lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?
January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she’s the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.
But they actually have more in common than you’d think:
They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.
The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely…
Beach Read is centred around January, a 20-something romance writer. She’s quite immature but in general, she’s the kind of protagonist that’s easy to sympathise with.
Basically the story begins with January processing her father’s death and all of the secrets that it has brought to light: an affair and a beach house that he shared with his mistress.
The idea of being in the beach house repulses January but since she desperately needs the money, she ventures to the small coastal town her dad grew up in to clear out the property, sell it and hopefully finish her next book along the way. There she discovers that her neighbour is the reclusive literary writer, Gus, with whom she has all kinds of history. And basically they dare each other to swap genres for their next books.
I became so deeply invested in the characters and their world that I felt every pang of pain, sadness and joy. This emotional investment left me feeling exhausted yet content at the end.
My only criticism is that January and Gus constantly pull back instead of just being open with each other. I think a dual narrative would have helped here. We only ever see Gus through January’s eyes but I think, as a character, he had so much more to offer the story than just being an enemy turned lover.
Similarly, I really enjoyed what Gus’s character brought to the story. The cult storyline had huge appeal for me, much more so than the fluffy stuff. It was fairly dark but told in a way that makes you realise that our experiences shape the way we perceive the world.
I find sex scenes uncomfortable and was worried that Beach Read would be too sexual. So I was pleased to find that the sexual references weren’t gratuitous or overtly graphic which was perfect for me.
Read This If…
You love contemporary romance or want to dip your toes into a light-hearted summery read.