LITERATURE

The Happily Ever After: A Memoir of an Unlikely Romance Novelist

Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. Aug. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9780385540254. $26.95. LIT
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Steinberg's (Running the Books) latest genre-transcending work is part memoir, part chronicle of the romance novel. Following his divorce, Steinberg’s obsession with romance novels grew into a decision to write one of his own. This drives him to attend romance book fairs, meet with ghostwriters, and even participate in an overnight retreat and seance outside a cemetery. ­Steinberg’s journey may serve as an eye-opener for readers and librarians who consider romance novels "trashy," as he seeks to prove that, throughout history and continuing today, romances are defying publishing odds and fueling the modernization of fiction. His travel adventures and writing group struggles shine a light on the diversity of the romance genre, while also appealing to aspiring writers. Along the way, he considers dating as a single dad, alphabetizing his bookshelves, and the significance and satisfaction of the Happily Ever After (HEA).
VERDICT With a journalist’s perspective and a penchant for wit and storytelling, Steinberg crafts a compelling narrative of his quest to find love and to write postdivorce.

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