Beach Read



I am not a big romance novel fan, or at least I like to think I am not. I like to read heart wrenching memoirs or true crime novels. Those are genres I have been drawn to since I realized those books existed. However, thanks to my partner, I have recently been jumping into light reads between those heart wrenching books I adore. Honestly, I think he is turning me into a fan.

Particularly, I have been enjoying reading Emily Henry’s romance novels. I recently finished Beach Read. A story about two authors who just so happen to be living next door to one another during one humid summer in North Bear Shores, Michigan.


Romance author January Andrews has spent her entire life romanticizing every chapter of her life. Since she can remember her life has been story like. Her parents’ marriage was the epitome of love. It was their love she cherished and dreamed of one day emulating. The picture-perfect life she had carefully crafted begins to rewrite itself when her father unexpectedly dies.


January’s world starts to come apart and is further rattled when the seismic news of her father’s secret life is exposed at his funeral. The hopeless romantic feels fooled for believing in the fairytale like marriage her parents portrayed her entire life. Her life is further complicated when her partner of almost a decade ends their relationship.


Heartbroken, single, and running out of money she finds herself pulling up to her father’s home in North Bear Shores. A ghost that contains mementos of his secret life with that woman. A resentful January prepares to rid herself of her father’s love nest, and as if her life could not get any worse, she is pressed for time to submit her next bestselling book by the end of summer.


Trying to maintain a low profile while she runs from her father’s secrets, she meets Pete at the local coffee shop. After running into Pete again at the bookstore, January agrees to go to her book club where she runs into her former college rival, Augustus Everett, who is now a bestselling author. The night continues to spiral, first with the two listening to the group’s humorous breakdown of the latest sci-fi novel they are enraptured by. Second, with the arrival of Sonya, January father’s mistress. January realizes there is not enough wine to drown out the sorrow she feels by her father’s betrayal and decides to leave.


As she stumbles out of Pete’s home, her rival is not too far behind her. She is aghast that she finds herself in front of the boy who ridiculed her writing in college and made her feel foolish for believing in love. The suave mysterious Augustus drove January crazy in college and sharing donuts and coffee with the mature Augustus seems like a nightmare. Unfortunately, the nightmare does not end for January when she discovers that the two are neighbors.


The summer carries on with both finding themselves with writer’s block and deadlines that cannot be put off any longer. The two engage in friendly competition when they bet one another to write in the others genre and see who can first sell their latest novel to their publisher. Both agree to participate in one another’s process of researching and writing. This means that Augustus must let his walls down and allow himself to believe in love and January must see the ugly in the world without romanticizing reality.

The two find themselves developing feelings for one another, or at least understanding their differences. January grows to depend on the cute notes they write to one another throughout the day as they spend their day writing their books. Augustus starts to look forward to their Saturday outings. Whether they are dancing, trekking a trail, or people watching, the affection and desire for one another’s companionship grows.


This story is not an ordinary love story, it is rooted in self-discovery and exploration. It depicts opposites struggling to find themselves and each other as both are haunted by their respective pasts. January faces her father’s demons, while Augustus’ past comes back in an unpredictable twist. The more the pair grows together, the further the current rips them apart. 


Beach Read is not your classic cut and paste romance novel. It is a messy millennial love story depicting characters we (millennials) have all been at one point or another. The hopeless romantic girl listening to Something Corporate, and the shy guy who is too scared to talk to the “Punk Rock Princess.” [If you know the reference, you’re a millennial.]  It shadows the complicated lives of two humans too scared to love who are running from pasts that have left them deeply wounded.


Trust me when I say you will not be disappointed when reading Emily Henry’s Beach Read. It is not your cheesy Hallmark movie depiction of what love is. No one is moving to a small farm and falling in love with the handsome doctor in town. It is a meaningful and heartwarming story, filled with laughter and a little bit of eye rolling.


Quoted pictures are Mari Rey originals.