• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Sink into this light-fiction escapism; Nora Goes Off Script is romantic and satisfying in its outlandishly satisfying resolutions, convenient events, and happy endings.

In Annabel Monaghan's light fiction Nora Goes Off Script, Nora Hamilton is a scriptwriter for a Hallmark-style romance channel--and an expert in crafting the perfect romantic storylines and happy endings, according to her tried-and-true formula.

Meanwhile, her own love life is a mess and she's reluctant to be vulnerable again (her ex was a selfish, immature, entitled jerk who isn't involved in the kids' lives anymore).

Nora's focused on her work, her small-town life, her kids' sports and their school play, and her longtime friends.

But when the movie of her latest script is filmed at her house (side note: I'm not clear on how that sequence of events was meant to make sense), handsome and insufferable movie star Leo Vance shows up--and upends everything Nora thought she knew about love.

Nora's ex is presented as such a full-on loser, it's hard to believe in their dating-to-marriage story ever occurred, but this black and white, good and bad view of the characters and their blame dramatically simplifies a reader's expected loyalties.

Is it too silly and nitpicky to suggest that the most unlikely element of the whole book was not that a movie star falls in love with a lovely small-town mom, but that Nora's (and others') duties related to the looming, extremely involved school play (wrangling children, lines/blocking/rehearsals, creating costumes, juggling schedules) seem so effortlessly achieved?

Sink into this glorious escapism, because (spoiler alert!) you can be sure that if, for example, something outlandishly amazing might happen, it will (a nomination for a Major Award; a celebrity romance; a monetary windfall; a face-saving, revenge-worthy, incredible success story).

Nora Goes Off Script is fun redemption for mom readers (movie stars want what we've got: roasted chickens, Taco Tuesdays, weekend sports schedules, and more!) and is joyfully satisfying in the happy endings Monaghan provides.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Annabel Monaghan is also the author of Sometime Next Summer and other books.

Two other light fiction books I've reviewed that involve the celebrity-love trope are Very Sincerely Yours and The Bodyguard.

If you like light fiction, you might also like the books on my Greedy Reading Lists Six Great Light Fiction Stories and Six More Great Light Fiction Stories. Or you can search for light fiction reviews on the site.