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eARC Review: The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center



Release date:  11 June 2024

Rating:  4/5

Book boxes: None yet announced—probably BOTM

Synopsis:  She’s rewriting his love story. But can she rewrite her own?


Emma Wheeler desperately longs to be a screenwriter. She’s spent her life studying, obsessing over, and writing romantic comedies—good ones! That win contests! But she’s also been the sole caretaker for her kind-hearted dad, who needs full-time care. Now, when she gets a chance to re-write a script for famous screenwriter Charlie Yates—The Charlie Yates! Her personal writing god!—it’s a break too big to pass up.


Emma’s younger sister steps in for caretaking duties, and Emma moves to L.A. for six weeks for the writing gig of a lifetime. But what is it they say? Don’t meet your heroes? Charlie Yates doesn’t want to write with anyone—much less “a failed, nobody screenwriter.” Worse, the romantic comedy he’s written is so terrible it might actually bring on the apocalypse. Plus! He doesn’t even care about the script—it’s just a means to get a different one green-lit. Oh, and he thinks love is an emotional Ponzi scheme.


But Emma’s not going down without a fight. She will stand up for herself, and for rom-coms, and for love itself. She will convince him that love stories matter—even if she has to kiss him senseless to do it. But . . . what if that kiss is accidentally amazing? What if real life turns out to be so much . . . more real than fiction? What if the love story they’re writing breaks all Emma’s rules—and comes true?

 

Review


I am a veritable Katherine Center fan.  Her romances have all the feels and make me laugh; they also do not contain explicit sexual content.  Their lack of sexual content does not, however, make them terrible romances.  Center brings the swoon and the feels just as well as any spicy romance writer, and The Rom-Commers is no exception.  While I did not enjoy Center’s latest as much as the previous Hello Stranger or The Bodyguard, I still had no trouble staying focused on the story, which is a feat for me lately because 2024 has me squarely in what is shaping up to be a year-long book slump.


As always with a Center book, readers will experience some heavy content.  What fluff you get you must pay for in tears.  Emma’s father requires aroung-the-clock care, and Charlie lives a deep trench of darkness.  Emma serves as a bit of a happy crutch for those around her (she miraculously keeps a sunny disposition through much of her circumstances) and she finds it difficult to let herself breathe free air after experiencing independence with her chance of a lifetime to co-write a script with her favorite screenwriter.  The situation for both characters is not a happy one.  It gets there, though.


Charlie Yates is a bit of a recluse, though he’s a brilliant screenwriter.  I won’t go into detail to avoid spoilers, but he has good reason to push others away, or so he thinks.  Emma just happens to be perfect for him in more ways than one, and their journey through rewriting the script together serves as the structure for their own journey toward love.  The two are tricked together by a mutual contact, and once they begin actually talking to one another, sparks fly and googly eyes are made.  I loved the attraction here between the two—they are a great example Pride and Prejudice-style enemies-to-lovers.  If you love characters who overcome misconceptions about each other and fall in love with the truths they see in one another, you’ll love Charlie and Emma.


I’m a relative newcomer to the Rom-Com world, and I believe I cut my teeth on Katherine Center’s books.  Though many of Center’s books are designated by the publishing industry as Women’s Fiction, there’s definitely a comedic element to each of them.  What really shines with this one lies in its premise.   Lately, rom-com writers are coming up with more unique spiels to attract readers, and I can tell Center is really jumping onto that particular bandwagon.  It certainly makes for interesting premises for books.  The drawback for me with this one also lies with the unique premise.  The Rom-Commers is one of Center’s shortest books, and I feel it could have done with a bit more fleshing out and development.  Introducing readers to a different world of screenplay writing and having the characters develop a friendship and then feelings for one another is a tall order for a thin book.  Regardless, it was still amazing; and I’ll be adding a physical copy to my shelves.  


I’ll also most likely continue reading Center’s books as long as she writes them.


My profuse thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the eARC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.



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