A negative review of her book inspires an author and bookstore owner to rewrite her love life.
Just when Maddie Hanson realizes her dream of opening a bookstore in her hometown, her fiance leaves her at the altar to go back to the city. And her first published novel earns a disappointing three-star review from a man called Silver Fox, who claims that the romance in the story falls flat. To add insult to injury, he adds, “I’m left suspecting the author hasn’t had a single romantic experience.” Against her better judgment, Maddie writes him back (using her pen name) to defend herself and her work, but she secretly worries that he might be right. To test her theory, she decides to give each of the men who show up for her book club a chance to be her romantic hero in real life: Charlie Hamilton, a handsome college professor; Max Beckett, her nosy childhood friend; and Dylan Black, an old flame who’s back in town for a break from his music career. She’s even more confused when her ex-fiance, Peter Mercer, shows up to offer her a second chance. Drawing on everything from Pride and Prejudice to You’ve Got Mail, Maddie provides a dizzying analysis of which fictional character each man would be—“It occurred to me he wasn’t Rhett Butler or Rochester. He was Casanova or the Marquis de Valmont.” The men take it surprisingly well. Meanwhile, she and Silver Fox spar over whose life is more pathetic until, miraculously, their animosity morphs into mutual respect. Silver Fox’s first few emails are truly awful—“I find myself wanting to mentor you to a better mental place,” he tells Maddie—but he becomes a viable suitor once he opens up about his life and even shares his own writing. The final few chapters pick up steam as Maddie comes closer to meeting her nemesis—who could be her true love—in real life.
Romance junkies will get a kick out of this fun, self-referential spin on just about every trope in the book.