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A Novel Love Story

A magical summer escape from Ashley Poston

Pub Day Review!

A Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston

Book: 384 pages

Audiobook: 10 hours 52 minutes


The premise of this one drew me in. Imagine visiting the world of your favorite book, meeting beloved characters, exploring the small town and its landmarks, and experiencing a place you only know through your favorite books. Literature professor Elsy Merriweather unexpectedly gets to do just that when she suddenly finds herself in the fictional town of Eloraton from her favorite book series. Then she meets the handsome but grumpy bookstore owner Anders, yet she can't place him from the books. The author of the series passed away, and the last story remains unfinished. After Elsy's own heartbreak, is she the one to help bring the town its storybook ending?


I love Ashley Poston's unique storytelling. Her stories combine magical realism and romance with deeper issues like loss and grief. Her lovely, descriptive writing captures the sometimes bittersweet realities of life inside a whimsical dreaminess. With this book within a book, Poston's picture-perfect small town and charming characters help facilitate Elsy's growth throughout her journey as she sees new meaning in the stories she knows so well.


Told in a single POV, this grumpy/sunshine romance is a slow burn interspersed with flashbacks from Elsy's real life. There was a bit of repetitiveness, but overall, this is such an enjoyable read and one I recommend. This book is a love letter to the romance genre and to readers who love escaping into books, obsessing over and discussing them, and forming deep connections to fictional worlds.


Dorothy Dillingham Blue narrates the audiobook and delivers a fantastic performance. She has just the right amount of Southern sass and charm to bring Elsy vibrantly to life. She also does a good job with the other characters. I found listening at 1.5x speed to be a comfortable pace, with everything clear and easy to understand.


Thank you to Berkley Publishing and PRH Audio for the free book and audiobook!



My steep was Lemon Meringue Iced Black Tea from Club Magic Hour

Elsy drinks chai in the book, and that would pair great too, I'm just loving my summer flavored teas right now and this one is both tart and sweet!


PUBLISHER'S SYNOPSIS:


A professor of literature finds herself caught up in a work of fiction…literally, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Seven Year Slip and The Dead Romantics.


Eileen Merriweather loves to get lost in a good happily-ever-after. The fictional kind, anyway. Because at least imaginary men don’t leave you at the altar. She feels safe in a book. At home. Which might be why she’s so set on going her annual book club retreat this year—she needs good friends, cheap wine, and grand romantic gestures—no matter what.


But when her car unexpectedly breaks down on the way, she finds herself stranded in a quaint town that feels like it’s right out of a novel…


Because it is.


This place can’t be real, and yet… she’s here, in Eloraton, the town of her favorite romance series, where the candy store’s honey taffy is always sweet, the local bar’s burgers are always a little burnt, and rain always comes in the afternoon. It feels like home. It’s perfect—and perfectly frozen, trapped in the late author’s last unfinished story.


Elsy is sure that’s why she must be here: to help bring the town to its storybook ending.


Except there is a character in Eloraton that she can’t place—a grumpy bookstore owner with mint-green eyes, an irritatingly sexy mouth and impeccable taste in novels. And he does not want her finishing this book.


Which is a problem because Elsy is beginning to think the town’s happily-ever-after might just be intertwined with her own.


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