When thinking of goals for the new year one thing stuck out to me. Read more books. Since having kids, I stopped reading anything that wasn't children's literature. With a new year and a new decade on the horizon I decided this year I would read more for my pleasure. That's why I was so excited to be selected to join the SheSpeaks Book Club for the month of January and receive a copy of Kate Clayborn’s new novel, Love Lettering. My biggest gripe about Love Lettering is it doesn't have any pictures. The main character is a hand-lettering artist and speaks beautifully about letters, signs and fonts and I found myself longing for some small pictures or illustrations to see what she was seeing. That may be my biggest gripe but it certainly isn't my only one.
I was gifted an advanced copy of Kate Clayborn's new book Love Lettering for being a part of the SheSpeaks book club.
Love Lettering a No Spoilers Book Review
Author: Kate Clayborn
Book Type: Fiction
Category: ChickLit/Romantic Comedy
Rating: 4 stars
Teaser: "In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts on woman's business - and her heart - in jeopardy..."
Love Lettering - The Characters
Meg is into letters. Like really into letters. So much so she's built herself a business of hand-lettering planners for clients and takes on the occasional wedding or two. That is until her m-i-s-t-a-k-e. Since leaving the wedding business she's gained quiet the following on Instagram and has even taken on celebrity clients. Dubbed the "Planner of Park Slope" all seems to be going well for Meg until...
Reid works on Wall Street. He really likes numbers and math. He's not one for whimsy and therefore not one for letters. Though he picks up on patterns quite easily which is how we are introduced to him and why he and Meg reconnect. He is reserved, more strategic in his ways and doesn't often stray from his routine; laps in the pool in the morning, work a 9 to 5 all week and then most likely work more on the weekends.
I wouldn't go so far as to say Meg and Reid are complete opposites but from an outsider's perspective they certainly come off as a mismatched pair. Reid is figuratively and literally more buttoned up than Meg and is very direct in his speaking.
Meg, ironically, has trouble expressing her feelings though she is quite expressive in her hand-lettering. They work on making each other better though at times their miscommunication can be frustrating for the reader. This novel is written from the perspective of Meg and there are signs even she misses that the reader picks up on which causes much head shaking and audible groans.
Love Lettering - What I Liked
I've never given much thought to hand-lettering and font styles or even looking at the fonts used in signs on store fronts or restaurants, but Love Lettering has opened my eyes to the world around me.
Love Lettering is a "love letter" to New York. I really enjoyed the descriptions of signs and scenery and even the people of the city. I can relate to Meg's love for the city and understand why she felt so compelled to make Reid feel the same way.
What I liked most about Love Lettering was how easy of a read it was, the genre of chicklit is the only genre of fiction I read. I enjoy happy endings, sappy love professions and rom-com cutesy moments. Love Lettering has all of these things. If this book was released in the early two thousands you could easily cast Kate Hudson and Judy Greer for the movie version, the perfect formula for on-screen rom-com success.
Love Lettering - What I Didn't Like
While Love Lettering was an easy and airy read it takes a bit to get going. I found myself waiting for the shoe to drop, waiting for the conflict. The big twist didn't come to light until near the very end of the book. It was obvious we were building to something and I found myself just wanting to get on with it already.
Once that bomb was dropped I couldn't read each page fast enough. The last quarter of this book is a real page turner and I only wish we would have gotten to the excitement sooner. It is because of the ending that I now long for a sequel. Had we had the proper time to resolve the conflict, the story would have felt more complete.
Something that took me by surprise and not in a positive way is the way a sex scene was depicted in Love Lettering. Maybe this is me being too prudish, but for a book that was written in G and P-G rated terms this scene seemed very out of place. It arrives directly in the middle of the novel and while the act itself isn't unexpected, the language used and the length at which this scene is covered did not match the styling of the first 12 chapters.
Once it is over it is as if that shift never occurred and we're back to G and P-G rated terms. I found this to be very jarring and I even stepped away from the book after reading this scene because it felt like it cheapened everything we were building up to at that point.
Another sore spot for me was her relationship with best friend turned roommate, Sibby. There was a conflict here that I'm not entirely sure was needed. I think the story could have progressed just as easily had they been on speaking terms for a majority of the book rather than silently and awkwardly at odds. Every good rom-com has a sidekick (see Judy Greer) and I just wish this was the case here. I love seeing a best friend being happy for her best friend.
Love Lettering - The Verdict
I give Love Lettering 4 out of 5 stars.
I enjoyed reading it. I liked getting to know Meg and Reid and I am compelled to find out more about them. Perhaps it is because I'm from the East Coast but the descriptions of New York really made me smile and I wanted Meg to make Reid fall in love with the city and though I'm not entirely sure if she succeeded, I think he's coming around.