Review: The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

idea loveTitle: The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 254 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


As we like to say in the south,
“Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

Ella’s life has been completely upended. She’s young, beautiful, and deeply in love–until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she’ll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers’ block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He’s on the look-out for a love story. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It’s the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It’s an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what’s a little white lie between strangers? But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?


The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry is a sweet, light-hearted novel that is very charming. The unusual premise is fun and flirty but it is the characters that make it such an enjoyable read.

Hunter Adderman (aka Blake Hunter) has been traveling from place to place looking for inspiration for his next screenplay. His last two scripts were flops and he is now suffering from terrible writer’s block. His journey has taken him to a small town in South Carolina, and he is instantly charmed by Ella Flynn, a woman he meets outside a local cafe. He is immediately captivated by her tragic love story and he writes a screenplay based on the tale she told him. The only problem? Ella’s story is just as false as his but since the two are never going to see one another once Hunter returns to CA, they do not come clean about their white lies. Neither of them counted on their friendship turning into what might be love but can a relationship that is based on a series of untruths last once the truth is revealed?

Ella was blissfully happy and completely content in her marriage until a devastating secret turns her life upside down. She is trying to get on with her life but she is really just marking time until she can return to her old one. When she meets Hunter, the tale she spins for him is really what she wants her life to be. One lie leads to another and although she comes close to confessing the truth, Ella just cannot bring herself to ruin a friendship that brings her a little happiness. Unfortunately, she has to return to real life when her brief time with Blake ends and surprisingly, Ella finds the courage to stand up for herself and claim what is rightfully hers.

Blake’s life is just as messy as Ella’s and revitalizing his career is hopefully just the first step in getting his life back on track. A few years earlier, he was on top of the world until a drunken decision brought everything crashing down around him. He is now divorced and although he does not miss his wife, Blake is desperately trying to repair his relationship with his teenage daughter. Once he returns to L.A., he is on his way to reviving his career and after taking Ella’s advice to heart, he begins to make a concerted effort to fix his troubled relationship with his daughter. But it is not until he finalizes the screenplay that Blake realizes how he truly feels about Ella, but will she forgive him for his deceit?

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry is an entertaining novel that has a surprising amount of depth and substance. Ella and Blake are well-developed and although flawed, they are quite appealing. The storyline is cute and refreshing unique. A quick read with characters whose friendship provides them the opportunity to reflect on life and love which ultimately allows them to love again. Perfection!

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1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Patti Callahan Henry, Rated B+, Review, St Martin's Press, The Idea of Love, Women's Fiction

One Response to Review: The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

  1. Timitra

    Thanks Kathy