Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Published by Henery Press on November 8th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org
They say opposites attract, and what could be more opposite than a stuffy literary writer falling in love with a self-published romance writer?Meet novelist Aaron Mite. He lives in a flea-infested rented alcove, and his girlfriend Emma, a combative bookstore owner, has just dumped him. He meets Laurie Lee at a writers’ colony and mistakenly believes her to be a renowned writer of important fiction. When he discovers she’s a self-published romance author, he’s already fallen in love with her.
Aaron thinks genre fiction is an affront to the fiction-writing craft. He likes to quotes the essayist, Arthur Krystal who claims literary fiction “melts the frozen sea inside of us.” Ironically Aaron doesn’t seem to realize that, despite his lofty literary aspirations, he’s emotionally frozen, due, in part, to a childhood tragedy. The vivacious Laurie, lover of flamingo-patterned attire and all things hot pink, is the one person who might be capable of melting him.
Their relationship is initially made in literary heaven but when Aaron loses his contract with a prestigious press, and Laurie’s novel is optioned by a major film studio, the differences in their literary sensibilities and temperaments drive them apart.
In a clumsy attempt to win Laurie back, Aaron employs the tropes of romance novels. Too late. She’s already taken up with Ross, a prolific author of Nicholas Sparks-like love stories. Initially Laurie is more comfortable with the slick and superficial Ross, but circumstances force her to go deeper with her writing and confront a painful past. Maybe Aaron and Laurie have more in common than they imagined.In the tradition of the Rosie Project, Love Literary Style is a sparkling romantic comedy which pokes fun at the divide between so-called low and high brow fiction.
This was a very interesting story. Not just the romance, but the way that it was written. I’m still thinking about that part.
The story is a romance between an aspiring literary novelist and an aspiring romance novelist. She finds his litfic dreary, and he thinks her romance is purely drivel. Of course, they are both wrong.
As the book begins we are following the literary fiction author, the unfortunately named Aaron Mite. Because frankly, his ego, his confidence and his spirit are all about the size of mite. Awfully tiny.
Aaron’s part of the story also reads like the worst conventions of literary fiction. The hero is a hapless, hopeless everyman, his life is going nowhere, his dreams are dying, and his life story seems formless, vague and plotless. Also pointless, except where it heaps more angst upon him through the agencies of his equally abusive father and girlfriend.
But when Aaron takes himself to a literary authors’ retreat outside the city, he finds himself falling into a romantic comedy that he never even thought of.
Laurie Lee is an aspiring romance writer with a couple of self-published books under her belt. She is astonished to receive a scholarship to the elite writers retreat, but vows to make use of the time on her next novel.
Laurie and Aaron are occupying opposite sides of a duplex at the retreat. Laurie thinks Aaron is kind of cute in a bookish sort of way, and she is in the market for a fling after a long and sad dry spell. But it takes a lot of effort for her to get Aaron to respond to her, because he’s not just painfully withdrawn, but also simply can’t believe that a famous novelist would possibly even want to talk to him.
Laurie is at the retreat as the beneficiary of a case of mistaken identity. The retreat intended to invite award winning author Laura Leer, but instead sent the acceptance to Laurie Lee. Laurie is determined to make lemonade out of the lemons, but Aaron begins looking down on her from that moment forward.
In spite of the fact that they have been spending most of the retreat together, having the best sex that either of them has ever had.
Even though their mistaken identity meet cute still manages to lead to real romance, it always seems like the HEA that Laurie longs for is always just a bit out of reach. Aaron’s attitude towards her writing is pretty obvious, and even more so after her next book is picked up by a big name actress and a Hollywood studio.
Their break up seems inevitable. Their getting back together seems impossible, especially with fate conspiring with his old girlfriend and Hollywood to keep them apart. But an assist from a couple of very surprising guardian angels gives them one more chance at happiness.
Because Aaron and Laurie’s story has changed from dreary litfic to HEA rom com!
Escape Rating B: As someone who has occasionally been forced to read literary fiction, generally at gunpoint, the commentary about the publishing business in general and literary fiction conventions in particular was always spot on.
Which doesn’t stop Aaron’s sections from being a bit dreary to read, because Aaron has been leading a very dreary life. The point of the story is to inject some romance, some comedy, and some just plain life into that otherwise angsty story. It’s fun watching things turn around.
A comparison has been made between Laurie Lee and the heroine of Legally Blond. Laurie is a character who doesn’t even realize that her incredible good looks often get her much further ahead than her brains, although she has plenty of those, too. She’s also a bit of a pollyanna, always seeing the best of things and people.
The tragedy in her background doesn’t seem to have gotten her down one little bit. But the revelation that the Hollywood studio has bought her story for the plot she contrived and not for her mediocre writing skills is a blow. But she gets right up again and goes after what she wants, which is to be a real writer and not just a name on the cover.
That Aaron’s rather Scrooge-like father becomes her mentor and guardian angel in her quest to improve her writing seems like a surprising twist, but is also adds a lovely redemption arc to the book.
In the end, the story comes to its inevitable HEA, but does so in a way that feels fresh. And at the same time, firmly in the rom-com “tradition”.
~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~
I’m giving away a copy of Love, Literary Style to one lucky US/CAN commenter.