Book Review: A Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston

A Novel Love Story by Ashley Poston tells the story of Elsy Merriweather, who is on her way to her book club’s annual retreat on her own. Unfortunately, the members of the romance book club she’s part of couldn’t make this year’s trip, including her best friend Pru. Determined to take this much needed break, Elsy decides to take the trip by herself from Georgia up to the Hudson Valley in her old but mighty car. Elsy needs this break more than anything as it appears that some things in her life are changing without her. Desperate to cling onto something, she embarks on this trip. Except that she never makes it to the cabin in Hudson Valley but rather to a small town that feels eerily familiar. As Elsy gets caught in the rain and her car breaks down, she’s forced to stay in the town for the weekend, where she soon figures out that the town she is in is actually the fictional town of Eloraton from her favorite beloved romance series.

At first, Elsy thought she was hallucinating or something, which valid because how does one even end up in a fictional town? As she chats with the locals and walks around town with the grumpy bookstore owner she almost ran over, it’s clear that things in this town are in stasis based on where the books in the series left the characters. The grumpy bookstore owner, Anders, warns her not to meddle with the characters as things should stay the way they were written. Something about the town and the characters feel off to Elsy, so despite the warning, she does end up meddling and causing ripples that may cause more harm than good to the original stories in the books.

Elsy’s journey is more than just the actual trip up to the Hudson Valley. As her friends’ lives move forward, she realizes she’s stuck as they’re seemingly moving on without her, which is why this trip was so important to her; she was desperate to cling onto the one normal, constant thing going on in her life. What she fails to realize at first is that she’s essentially stuck by her own doing. After a failed relationship three years prior, the weight of the breakup was the nail in the coffin in her and her sense of self. She stayed in mourning of that breakup for the duration of the three years, locking herself up from feeling any sort of feelings or trying again with a new relationship out of fear of getting hurt. Elsy lost herself in her relationship and once it was devastatingly over, she never recovered. In her time in Eloraton, she comes to terms with this and realizes that she hadn’t done anything for herself in ages – something truly for herself and not someone’s suggestions or following someone else.

Overall, I enjoyed A Novel Love Story. Having read Ashley Poston’s other two books, I knew what to expect and was excited to dive back into her world. I LOVED the easter eggs from her other two books in here – legit giggling, feet up in the air type of happy! Elsy’s story and her love of romance novels, and why she reads them, struck a cord with me because I did something similar. It’s sometimes easier to read about someone else’s happy ending, a guaranteed happy ending, than to try and find it for yourself. Not saying not to put yourself out there, but I get it if the safety and comfort of a book series is more alluring than the 50/50 chance of finding a love like the ones you read about. Based on Elsy’s outcome, it’s still worth a shot.

Check out my review for The Seven Year Slip, also by Ashley Poston, here!

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