Published by Graydon House on 25th May 2021
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Inspiration can come from the most unlikely—and inconvenient—sources.
Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential Bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.
But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.
With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?
‘Talk Bookish to Me’ reads so similarly to a book I’d gone through a while ago that it felt like a rehash of the themes that appeared in the previous story I’d read, but to be jaded because of it doesn’t mean I should not give it a fair go.
So gave it a run I did, especially when Kate Bromley quite exuberantly ties up a story within a story—almost like a wry tribute to romance writing, tropes and all—and the sort of funny issues faced by romance authors juggling real life and their storylines. In the centre of the whirlwind however, is a couple who find their second-chance during a mutual friend’s wedding, then compromising other relationships because of the chemistry-laden-something burgeoning between them.
By and large, it all went swimmingly until…well, up to the three-quarter mark when I’d gone on too long and in too deep before some game-changers gave me whiplash and tanked it all. Because until then, it was an entertaining run. I had my reservations, clearly; Kara Sullivan and Ryan Thompson suddenly meeting a decade later after their break-up and then realising that they still wanted to be with each other was in itself a bit hard to swallow. A decade is a long time after all and the idea that they wanted each other but did nothing about it until they met accidentally again didn’t sit too well from the beginning. Still, I liked the dashes of humour, the light-hearted feel that didn’t go down the angsty path too much, the flirty dialogues and the constant reevaluation of the protagonists’ ideas of what they were seeking from each other.
But what turned the whole story on its head for me was a development towards the end that I felt compromised my own rules about cheating and the notion of loyalty. That in turn, made me wonder about my personal tolerance about such issues—and whether they could be considered acceptable ‘flaws’ even in fiction. More so when the plot took a different direction thereafter (as the protagonists made selfish decisions) with an introduction so late to a potential third-party—who honestly seemed like the better man—before it quickly turned around for its rushed HEA.
I finished the book with much less enthusiasm than when I began. Not that I was seeking something completely angst-free to begin with, but when the level of stupidity increased exponentially at the end, so did my tolerance for it go in the opposite direction.