From the publisher:
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
A little side note here. The beach of the title is on Lake Michigan, which I saw for the first time when I was in Chicago last year. I have heard people talk about beaches on lakes, and never understood it. Growing up on the east coast, to me the beach is the shore of an ocean. The Atlantic Ocean, or the Pacific Ocean in the US. I even questioned the validity of a beach on the Gulf of Mexico. But once I saw the great lake, I understood. You can’t see the other side! There are waves! And sand! It’s a beach, I was wrong.
The main characters, Gus and January, are both writers. They have history together. They were in college together, and January always had a bit of a crush. They almost hooked up one night at a party, but she is sure he doesn’t remember her.
Now they are neighbors. January has recently lost her father, which opened a big old can of worms. Turns out he had a mistress and another home on Lake Michigan. He left January the house, but she is frustrated because she can’t ask him anything, and her mother refuses to talk about it.
Gus has his own issues, and he very, very slowly reveals himself to January. Or at least she thinks he does. As we find out more about Gus, we can’t help but root for him. He is a man in desperate need of love, of being important to someone. And January may just be the one he needs.
There are some very funny moments, and some very sad ones as well before everything comes together. I had a couple of minor quibbles with it (I’m not going to spoil anything) but ultimately it was a very enjoyable read. This didn’t feel like a stereotypical romance to me, and that is a good thing. If you like a little depth before your happily ever after, this is a terrific read.
5/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
BEACH READ by Emily Henry. Berkley (May 19, 2020). ISBN 978-1984806734. 384p.
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