Monday, June 4, 2018

Book Review: "The Romance Reader's Guide to Life," by Sharon Pywell

About the book:
As a young girl, Neave was often stuck in a world that didn't know what to do with her. As her mother not unkindly told her, she was never going to grow up to be a great beauty. Her glamorous sister, Lilly, moved easily through the world, a parade of handsome men in pursuit. Her brother didn't want a girl joining his group of friends. And their small town of Lynn, Massachusetts, didn't have a place for a girl whose feelings often put her at war with the world -- often this meant her mother, her brother, and the town librarian, who wanted to keep her away from the dangerous books she really wanted to read.

But through an unexpected friendship, Neave finds herself with a forbidden copy of The Pirate Lover, a steamy romance, and she discovers a world of passion, love and betrayal. And it is this world that as a grown-up she retreats to again and again when real life becomes too much.

Neave finds herself rereading The Pirate Lover more than she ever would have expected because, as she gets older, life does not reflect the romances she gobbled up as a child. When Neave and Lilly are about to realize their professional dream, Lilly suddenly disappears. Neave must put her beloved books down and take center stage, something she has been running from her entire life. She must figure out what happened to Lilly -- and if she's next. Who Neave turns to for help makes for one of the most original, entertaining, exciting, and chilling novels you will read this year.

My review:
This is the story of a family of siblings -- three sisters and one brother -- who are all very different. The "romance reader" is Neave, who secretly reads a romance novel as a child and re-reads the same book, The Pirate Lover, year after year. Ironically, as she and her siblings become adults, the events in the book start to mirror their real lives in certain ways. The story focuses mostly on the siblings' lives, but it occasionally cuts to the romance novel so readers can see the parallels. Will the conclusion of the pirate book be the same as the "real-life" story? There's also a strange story line when Neave's dead sister and dog meet up in the afterlife and start to manipulate events on earth. This was at times entertaining but sometimes annoying. But despite this oddity, this was a very good book and kept me interested from start to finish.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. I borrowed the book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through my link.

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