The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell (Review by Caitlin Winkler)

Rating: 4.5/5 *

   “If you are reading this, then you aren’t where I am, which is dead.” This is the opening line of the novel and I’ll be completely honest- I did not see that coming in a book titled “The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life”. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a good story. One that draws you in from the very beginning and holds your attention until the very end. But how about if there is another story within the story; now that is just a book lovers dream. That’s how I felt reading this novel. If you hear the title and think to yourself “romance isn’t really my thing”, trust me-it’s not really “the main thing” of this novel either.

This is the story of Neave who, as a young girl, has a passion for reading. I could relate to her as a character in that regard very much. “The Pirate Lover” is the first introduction that Neave has into the world of romance novels and this fictitious story serves as our book within a book. This reminded me of how reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the age of 9 has continuously shaped my life even up to the present. While this is not the entire plot of this story, it is a common theme throughout.

Stories have a remarkable way of influencing us long after we finish that last page. This story was a perfect example of that. It touches upon real issues such as domestic violence and the struggles of being a woman in the 20th Century, but woven throughout is this “cliche” romance novel of pirates and damsels that is somehow perfect for the larger novel itself. To be quite honest I would recommend this book to anyone solely because of how much I enjoyed reading it.

Review by Caitlin Winkler

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