Title: What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.
Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year-old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance “in the style of Nora Ephron,” she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.
Linda Yellin’s What Nora Knew is a fresh, funny romantic comedy that is full of engaging characters. A bit of a madcap adventure, a touch of quirkiness and a distintive storyline are a winning combination in this fast-paced and compelling story.
Writer Molly Hallberg handles all of the zany writing assignments thrown her way with lots of enthusiasm. But her latest human interest story presents a big challenge for her-she is tasked with writing an article about finding your soul mate and living happily ever after. Divorced, romantically challenged and in a comfortable (but sparkless) relationship with chiropractor Russell Edley, Molly sets off on her latest venture to uncover the truth about romance and happily ever after.
I absolutely adored Molly. She is jaded and cynical about love and relationships but she never quite gives up on finding Mr. Right. She closely guards her heart and settles for perfectly nice, safe boyfriends. As she researches her true love article, Molly is quite contemplative of her own love life and she discovers some uncomfortable truths about herself. But it is her introduction to bestselling mystery writer Cameron Duncan that really tests some of her long held beliefs and she has to decide if she is willing to risk her heart.
Molly’s approach to her approach to her career is anything but safe. She throws herself wholeheartedly into whatever goofy assignment comes her way no matter how outlandish or dangerous. Of course she does so in hopes of finally getting her own column (complete with headshot) and despite her requests being shot down time and again, Molly never gives up trying to convince her boss to give her chance.
For much of the story, Molly is enmeshed in a lackluster relationship with Russell. She become less and less enchanted with him as she works on her story but she finds it difficult to leave someone who really has nothing wrong with him. All of her friends and family keep telling her he isn’t the man for her, but Molly is not yet ready to concede their assessment might be valid.
Keeping Russell in her life is a pretty handy excuse for Molly not to get involved with Cameron. Although she is pretty disdainful of Cameron in general she cannot help being drawn to him. Their paths continue to cross at fairly regular intervals and their exchanges are flirty and full of witty banter but Molly remains suspicious of his motives.
Molly is full of self-deprecating humor and she is an easy heroine to root for. She has an excellent support system and her scenes with her family and friends provide many of the novel’s laugh out loud moments. Interspersed with the snarky and sarcastic comments are some very poignant observations that are thought-provoking. The romance part of the storyline is very understated and in true movie fashion, the biggest and most touching scene occurs late in the story.
What Nora Knew is a light-hearted breezy story and the overall plotline plays out like a romantic comedy movie. Linda Yellin relies heavily on Nora Ephron movie references, but they never overshadow the main story. This wonderfully written story is warm, witty and an all around fabulous read that is unique and different. I loved everything about it and heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary romances.