Wibberley, Emily and Austin Siegemund-Broka. Do I Know You? Berkley, 2023. 352 pp. ISBN 9780593201954 $17.00
Is it a second chance romance when the couple is question is already married and still together? After five years, Graham is withdrawing and vibrant Eliza, an audiobook narrator, isn’t sure why. When his parents gift them a second honeymoon getaway at a romantic resort that is also hosting a dating seminar the same weekend, Eliza books her own room to get a little space. Assumed single and introduced to one another at the bar by another well-meaning stranger, the two decide to take on a little role-playing in the hopes of rekindling their romance.
My initial thought was that there might be some sexy pretend-to-go-home with a stranger games, but authors Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka do not take the easy way out in this angsty tale of longing. Told in alternating points of view, we learn of Eliza and Graham’s insecurities, hurts and baggage as they fake date, reconcile and try to heal their marriage. The writing is deep and introspective and the resolution satisfying, but I didn’t like it as much as The Roughest Draft, which knocked the narrative, plot, pacing, sexual tension and characterizations out of the park.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #DoIKnowYou from #NetGalley.
Wibberley, Emily & Austin Siegemund-Broka. The Roughest Draft. Berkley, 2022. 336 pp. ISBN 978-0593201930. $16
Did they or didn’t they? Co-authors Nathan and Katrina have a three-book contract. The first novel was good, but the second, about an affair, was a torrid best-seller that left the world wondering if art was imitating reality. Their friendship implodes and so does Nathan’s marriage. A few years later, Katrina–now engaged to her agent–is pressured into writing a final book with someone she can’t stand. Nathan agrees, they decamp to the same Florida beach house as their writer’s retreat (now owned by Chris, who has informed Katrina she can do whatever she needs to do to get the book written, including bang it out of their systems). The two determine this book will focus on a divorce.
Nathan and Kat tell the story in alternating voices, going back in time to the writing of the previous novel. Faking pleasantries and friendship somehow allows the real thing to reemerge, and the writing and banter flows, and so do the fights, but they manage to make up, as always–at least when it comes to plot, character or language disagreements.
This slow burn literary romance is as much about the process as plot, and was a fascinating look at how two people work on a book together, written insightfully by a married couple. Five stars for excellent plotting, great dialogue, and using words I had to look up.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #TheRoughestDraft from #NetGalley.