What a delightful read this was! It’d be easy to say that it’s predictable… which it kinda is, but I went into it expecting that. Wanting that. I needed a happily ever after.
The blurb suggests it’s You’ve Got Mail meets The Proposal. I’m not entirely sure how it relates to the latter other than being about the book industry but it also reminded me of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, in which love grows from notes left between two people sharing a an apartment – albeit at different times so never meeting.Meet Me in the Margins
by Melissa Ferguson
Published by Thomas Nelson
Genres: Romance, Women's Fiction
Savannah Cade is a low-level editor at Pennington Publishing, a prestigious publisher producing only the highest of highbrow titles. And while editing the latest edition of The Anthology of Medieval Didactic Poetry may be her day job, she has two secrets she’s hiding.
One: She’s writing a romance novel.
Two: She’s discovered the Book Nook—a secret room in the publishing house where she finds inspiration for her “lowbrow” hobby.
After leaving her manuscript behind one afternoon, she returns to the nook only to discover someone has written notes in the margins. Savannah’s first response to the criticism is defensive, but events transpire that force her to admit that she needs the help of this shadowy editor after all. As the notes take a turn for the romantic, and as Savannah’s madcap life gets more complicated than ever, she uses the process of elimination to identify her mysterious editor—only to discover that what she truly wants and what she should
want just might not be the same.
I think the thing I love about this book is that it’s a reminder that (apparently) love can grow from non-physical attraction… via a meeting of the minds. I suspect I’ve always liked this idea and secretly hoped someone would be attracted to my personality and that the physical me wouldn’t impede their growing affections. (Although a brighter and shinier personality probably would have helped! *grimaces*)
I mean, surely that means as you grow older and fatter and saggier, the love remains. Rather than fade along with the physical traits that attracted you in the first place.
I still remember being in my mid-late twenties before realising I could be attracted to someone because of their intellect when their physical self did nothing for me at all. (I should mention I didn’t spend time with that person, rather they were running a workshop and I was very much drawn to them which was a bit of a change from the boofhead sporty types I’d liked until then!)
But, enough about me.
Although (a wee bit more about me)… as someone who potentially thinks about ‘writing’ a novel one day I liked that Ferguson didn’t have Savannah offer up an amazing manuscript from the beginning. I liked that it’s flawed and needs work. (And don’t we all, really?!)
Which of course is where her mystery editor comes in. Although affronted initially, when they offer similar comments to the potential publisher she realises she needs help.
And in the background there’s other stuff happening. Savannah’s been determined to make her lead character ‘normal’ because that’s just what she feels she is. Her sister and parents (and their parents) were / are all overachievers and Savannah feels as if she’s the family disappointment. Even worse her long-term boyfriend actually left her for her little sister who’s now a fitness influencer and constantly at Savannah to meet her exacting ‘step’ targets. (I initially wondered why Savannah was so anxious about the number of steps she’d done during the day until I met Olivia!)
I could easily point out that the improvements to the hiding spot Savannah and her mystery editor use are sure-fire indications as to their identity, or that colleague Lyla’s introduction is a bit confusing as Savannah’s just referenced her sister so I assumed Lyla was the sister.
But… all of that aside I ripped through this book in one contented sitting. It hovers somewhere between a 3.5 and 4 star read for me. I could see its flaws but enjoyed it nonetheless. And I felt at ease as I
turned the last page closed the reading app on my iPad.
It was also a timely read as the Savannah’s publishing company is one of those that prefers non-fiction (and probably dead Russian authors) and so there’s a bit of commentary on genre fiction and commercial fiction. Which comes at a time when there’s been controversy over a Sunday Times / The Times listing of the ’33 best books of 2021′ that includes various genres but not romance. The genre responsible for half of all books sold over the period that has seen the world beleaguered and beset by Covid.
As a complete aside, one of the things I love most about all of the new streaming services is that so many books are being adapted into movies or television series and I cannot help but think this would make a fabulous TV movie. (Assuming it’s well-done of course!)
Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson will be published by Thomas Nelson in February 2022.
I received an advance electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.