Beach Read

If you’re looking for a Kate Hudson/Matthew McConaughey romcom in a book, Beach Read by Emily Henry, is for you. 

During lockdown, for my recreational reading I’ve been craving stories that provide entertainment and escape. For me, that’s primarily whodunnits, but rather than bombard you with one mystery after another, I thought this month I’d find a love story because that’s another genre people like to escape into. 

Right off the bat, I’ve got to admit that I’m not the target audience for this novel. That doesn’t lessen the story or the author’s accomplishment in any way, and I’m certainly not going to criticize what Henry has done here. In fact, I quite admire the way she’s woven an internal arc into her protagonist, January Andrews. Her line-writing is lovely and this story is easy to get lost in. 

The more talented the author is, the less noticeable the craft becomes. Unless you’re a complete story nerd like I am, you’ll linger over the sex scenes and get all the way to the Happily Ever After without ever noticing the story structure. 

As a writer, I can appreciate this novel and I genuinely look forward to seeing what Emily Henry comes up with in the future. 

As a reader, I’m easily 25 years older than the target audience so I can’t help but roll my eyes at some of the stuff in here. I guess life experience has limited how far I can suspend my disbelief in certain areas. 

For example, January (aged 29) repeatedly moans about how difficult her life is, yet she’s just inherited a valuable beach-front property. (This is something to complain about, because…?)

She repeatedly says she has no money yet magically, she can afford to have a very active social life in bars and restaurants and can keep herself in a steady supply of alcohol. (When did purse wine become a thing?)

Oh, and about the food, all she eats is carbs; pasta, pop tarts and cotton candy. (Now there’s a habit that’ll bite her in the ass when she’s 40.)

Between her diet (which is a recurring topic) and her drinking (also a recurring topic—alcohol and coffee), I find it hard to believe that her skin is really as flawless as her bestie claims it is. (Here I am thinking that a good night’s sleep, hydration and a proper macro balance are the keys to great skin, when really, all it takes is sex with the guy next door.)

But don’t let me deter you from Beach Read. If you’re a hopeless romantic with an afternoon to kill, go for it. If you’re not, be patient. Next month I’ve got a ghost story for you. 

Audiobook Review

The audiobook is read by Julia Whelan who lends her voice to many of today’s bestselling women’s fiction, romance and thriller authors. You certainly won’t be disappointed.<br><br>

NOTE: If there are little ears around, you’ll want to use headphones. There are a few steamy scenes in the second half of the novel.

About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women