*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Blame it on the Brontës
Author: Annie Sereno
Publisher: Forever, Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
English professor Athena Murphy is an authority on the novels of the Brontë. To save her job, Athena decides to write a biography of C.L. Garland, the author heating up bestseller lists with spicy retellings of classic literature. Tracking down the reclusive writer and uncovering her secret identity, though, means Athena must return to her small midwestern hometown where Garland—and her ex-boyfriend, Thorne Kent—live. Seeing Thorne again reminds Athena that real life never lives up to fiction. Now she has to see him nearly every…single…day. The only solution is to find C.L. Garland as quickly as possible, write the book, and get the heck out of town. As her deadline looms and the list of potential C.L. Garlands dwindles, Athena and Thorne bicker and banter their way back to friendship. Could it really be true that the third time’s a charm?
Blame it on the Brontës has that small town, literary-infused charm with a second-chance romance. Love is in the air, set in a charming little community, set to a backdrop of books, scones, and copious amounts of coffee. English professor, Athena, in a last ditch effort to save her career, sets out to uncover the true identity of a mysterious erotica author. Her journey leads her to encounter her old flame, Thorne, a literature major turned lawyer turned baker and entrepreneur. It’s a sweet and comedic story with a cast of ridiculous and silly characters who are living a very Gilmore Girls-esque existence.
I quite enjoyed the character of Thorne. I thought he was complex, interesting, and incredibly mysterious. He has a robust backstory and we even get to see a number of chapters from his point of view, giving us some insight into his motivations. He’s incredibly multifaceted and very endearing. He’s the perfect man for a small-town romcom. His love of literature and with connections to the people in the community shines through. He’s soft-spoken, but his words carry weight. He’s well-respected, thoughtful, steady, and intentional.
Athena, on the other hand, is a bit of a hot mess. As a literature major myself, I can say I certainly never had any professors as chaotic as her. She seems to be on an out-of-control spiral that is taking her career and her love life along with it. She’s quite the self-saboteur. I wonder if, due to her past failings, she doesn’t see herself as deserving of a happy ending. Though she’s described as charming, witty, happy, and vibrant, she does everything in her power to keep her love interests at bay. I also found her to be unprofessional, unpredictable, and often annoying. As a woman with a PhD in English lit, I would have loved to see her as this giant book nerd full of quotes and unnecessary literary facts, but she acted more of an immature school girl with no tangible goals, and only a moderate interest in literature.
Though I think there are parts of this book that could be strengthened, overall, it was an enjoyable light-hearted romance. It’s endearing and not too steamy. Though it’s not one for the permanent book collection, it’s a good beach read with a satisfying story.