Bromley, Kate. Talk Bookish to Me. Graydon House, 2021. ISBN 978-1525806438 292 pp. $15.99
Generally I am not a fan of the enemies to lovers subgenre, especially when it goes beyond we don’t care for each other, or, there was one small hurt, to actively being mean, pranking, lying and subverting. The characters are not always nice to one another in this romance.
Romance novelist Kara is subjected to spending time with her college boyfriend and first lover Ryan when she discovers at a pre-engagement bash he is the best man to her maid of honor at their mutual friend’s wedding. Thrown together first in a number of wedding-related events, then at Kara’s invitation when Ryan’s hotel situation becomes less than desirable, the old flames fight, kiss and wonder what the heck they are doing, and would they have stayed together, had their circumstances (a long-distance relationship and suspected cheating) been different?
The will they/won’t they narrative is driven by Kara’s writer’s block dissipating as her and Ryan’s progression follows that of her characters. Ryan is honest about his resurging feelings about Kate–but not completely honest about himself. Is their love OTP, just unfinished business, or wedding-fanned sparks?
There is a lot to like here: I had never heard of a bookstagrammar and loved the details of how Kara sets a scene to highlight a book on her social media feed. Better editing might have removed the fatphobia and slut shaming type slurs, and while Ryan at first degrades romance as literary porn, he does later show support for Kara and her career. I like the cover art, which features a bicycling Kara solo on a teal silhouette of a city, with vibrant yellow sky and lettering. The book within a book formatting, and it worked well to advance the plot. A solid debut.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #TalkBookishToMe via #NetGalley.