Nora Hamilton knows the formula for love better than anyone. As a romance channel screenwriter, it’s her job. But when her husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns the collapse of her marriage into the best script of her life. When it’s picked up for the big screen and set to film on location at her picturesque Hudson Valley home, Nora’s life will never be the same – especially after world-famous Hollywood actor and former ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ Leo Vance is cast as her ex-husband.
The morning after the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He’ll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for an extra week. Seven days: it’s the blink of an eye or an eternity, depending on how you look at it. It’s enough time to fall in love. Enough time to break your heart…
It’s been nearly a dozen books since I read a full on rom-com. This one is straight out of a hallmark movie, more so since the protagonist is a romance channel screenwriter who follows the formula except for the one story that she based on her life.
Ever since a Hollywood studio bought the rights to Nora’s script, her life has been a whirlwind. When the filming crew lands at her home and throws everything in a tizzy, she focusses on adhering to her timetables to manage the kids, school, meals, homework, and her writing.
Once filming is complete and Leo decides to stay back, Nora and her two children gradually slip into a new normal, one they didn’t expect to adapt to so easily. At the end of the week, Leo must return home but he promises to be back. When missed calls are not returned and hopeful messages go unanswered, Nora and the kids decide the holiday is over and it’s time to fall back into their old routine.
Nora Goes Off Script is crazy cute and fabulously funny. That there happens to be a mom driven wild by her two kids is what balances the mush. Bernadette, eight, and Arthur, ten, are strongly opinionated but warm up to Leo easily between watching sunrises and rehearsing for school plays.
I love how Annabel Monaghan has written her characters. As much as the whole thing sounds like a fantasy you’d cook up in your dreams (which the author probably did), she makes it sound totally believable.
This romance novel is as real and relatable as it can get. Nora has enough to deal with, given the complexities of her mom life, before she’s thrown under the spotlight with Hollywood knocking at her door. Needless to say, little misunderstandings get blown out of proportion when egos take up more space than necessary. I won’t deny it took everything not to pluck Nora and Leo off their high horses and make them see eye to eye.
I love how Bernadette and Arthur are such important characters in the story, and probably my favourite. They ground Nora as much as they can get up to their shenanigans.
Sharp as a whip and endearing to its core, this delightful rom-com is the book for the summer. I only wish I could read it again for the first time.
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan. Published in June 2022 by Hodder & Stoughton, a Hachette UK company. This ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton.
Book 23 of 2022.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.
Available on Amazon*.
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