Originally published: 16 February 2023
Author: Shauna Robinson
Published by: One More Chapter
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Reading dates: 6-9 February 2023
Meet Nora Hughes – the overworked, underpaid, last bookish assistant standing. At least for now.
When Nora landed an editorial assistant role at Parsons Press she thought it would be The Dream Job. But after five years of admin and taking lunch orders, Nora has come to the conclusion: Dream Jobs do not exist.
With her life spiralling and unable to afford her rent, Nora does the only thing she can think of and starts freelancing for a rival publisher.
But when Andrew Santos, a bestselling author (who also happens to be quite attractive), is thrown into Nora’s life, she must decide where her loyalties lie, and whether she’s ready to choose herself and her future over her job…
Nora Hughes is a young black woman in her twenties who works as an editorial assistant for non-fiction publisher Parsons Press. After 5 years of working there, the only thing going for her job is her friendship with Beth who started the same day as her. When Beth leaves and pay cuts are announced she has had enough. On meeting her old boss Lynn for lunch one day she hears of a freelance role at rival publisher Weber – with only part time hours she can’t afford to take the role but instead secretly decides to take it along side her current job hoping it will one day lead to a full time role in fiction. Obviously there are ethical issues with this decision!
While at work she meets author Andrew Santos, the star author of Parsons Press – she hits it off with him and friendship turns to romance. But she finds herself in a dilemma – should Nora try and lure Andrew across to to her new publisher, knowing she will gain kudos and hopefully her dream job or should she encourage him to stay at Parsons and get a possible promotion?
The title of this book appealed to me and I loved the idea of reading a book set in the publishing industry. While Nora dreamed of working in books, she fell into non fiction publishing while her true love was fiction. Struggling with money and a colleague who treats her like his servant, she is depressed. She knows something must change – but she doesn’t know how to do it. Her relationship with Andrew is sweet – she confides in him and he is keen to help her find happiness.
We hear of Nora’s past depression, how she has fleetingly considered suicide and how depression is always lurking on the side lines. I’d like to have had this theme explored more – although I was glad to see her take control of her life as the book progressed, I felt maybe her recovery came a little too easily to be realistic.
Must Love Books is about feeling rubbish at work, the challenges of the publishing industry, especially for a black woman but the overwhelming message is one of hopefulness and friendship. When Nora is able to admit to her new friends how she feels she realises her life choices are not set in stone – she can makes changes and find the happiness she deserves.
Must Love Books gives an interesting insight into a career many of us book lovers would love to work in. A story of hope and friendship and a love of books!
About the author:
Shauna Robinson’s love of books led her to try a career in publishing before deciding she’d rather write books instead. Originally from San Diego, she now lives in Virginia with her husband and their sleepy greyhound. Shauna is an introvert at heart—she spends most of her time reading, baking, and figuring out the politest way to avoid social interaction. She is the author of Must Love Books and The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks.
I really wanted to love this one but was left a bit put off by the moral gap in the centre of the story with her second job – though of course it was needed for the plot. While we all get desperate and make poor choices, it just seemed so wrong. Anyway, I also liked the details of how the publishing industry works. It’s my latest review on my blog if you fancy seeing what I thought of it.
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Thanks Liz! I’ll check it out x