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Finding Mr. Write


Finding Mr. Write

New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong isn't known for her romantic comedies. In fact, FINDING MR. WRITE is the first one she's written, and it's quite different from her usual genres: fantasy, mystery and horror. While her other novels feature a soupçon of romance, this one is unabashedly filled with lust, romantic tension, insecurity, crossed signals, stupid moves and, of course, the rom-com must: an HEA (happily ever after).

Armstrong’s characters are always finely drawn with complex natures, and they're relatable and interesting. Here she reverses some tropes. We have a female protagonist, Daphne McFadden, who not only writes novels but lives in the rugged Yukon and knows how to chop wood for her fireplace, deal with the local grizzly bears, shoot a rifle, and generally take care of herself outdoors. Chris Stanton, her romantic interest, is in many ways her opposite. He's comfortable in the city where he has his accounting office, he loves to bake, and he's basically a nerd. What they do have in common is a love of books, dogs and having fun.

"[FINDING MR. WRITE is] a great choice for a light beach read, and while Armstrong's fans might not be used to this genre, they will appreciate her fine writing and humor."

When Daphne finishes her novel, a zombie thriller set in Alaska and aimed at young adult audiences, she finds that no agent is interested in representing her. She remembers reading about an author who submitted her book under a man’s name and got five times the responses she had received before. So in a slightly drunken state, Daphne makes up Zane Remington, who built his own house out of logs he cut down from trees, hunts and fishes, lives off the grid in the Yukon, and wrote his first book. At the Edge of the World sells in a bidding war for a ridiculous sum of money, and unbelievably for a debut, it zooms to #1 on the bestseller list. Now everyone wants to meet this author, and it's going to be really difficult for Daphne to hide behind a pseudonym.

While Daphne is thrilled about the book's success, she also is most definitely not Zane Remington. And when her publisher expects Zane to do publicity, Daphne doesn't know what to do. Her best friend's accountant, Chris, is in need of work, and Nia suggests that he fill in for Zane. Chris is sweet and gentle, but he has the face and body of a movie star. And he is jumping into his role wholeheartedly. He presents himself to Daphne as an actor, so she'll feel that he'll be able to do the job. To really fill out the role of brainless studly actor, he pretends that he is shallow and doesn't read.

When a film crew comes to Daphne's home, Chris (as Zane) must pretend that it's his home, that he built it, and that he's comfortable with weapons and wandering the wilderness. The sparks between Daphne and Chris are almost immediate, even though it takes her a while to see through his he-man facade. She sees the sweetness and intelligence underneath the muscles and handsome face but can't reconcile that with his boorish behavior.

As their carefully wrought farce is in danger of falling apart, Daphne doesn't know what to do. She'd like to reveal that she’s the author of At the Edge of the World, but she's worried that fans will be disappointed, that part of the reason they love the book is the magnetism of the handsome author, and that her publisher will pull out. She doesn't realize that her publisher is thrilled as they are making a boatload of money from her novel and would not cut ties with her under any circumstances.

Daphne has a backstory when it comes to love. Her last boyfriend, the guy she thought was "the one," abandoned her because she was spending time helping her dying mother. So now, predictably, she is reluctant to get involved in a serious relationship. And because of both her and Chris' insecurities when it comes to love, each is not sure that the other is sending the right signals. Armstrong deftly handles the back and forth as each overthinks cues and comments to decide if there is a mutual attraction. It's a beautiful thing.

Meeting these two characters and getting to know them is a treat. We like their compassion for those around them, their determination to do the right thing, and their ability to make the best of the ridiculous situation in which they have found themselves. The story is delightful, the romance sweet, and the funny moments much appreciated, with a bit of the obligatory heartache but a perfect ending. It's a great choice for a light beach read, and while Armstrong's fans might not be used to this genre, they will appreciate her fine writing and humor.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on June 29, 2024

Finding Mr. Write
by Kelley Armstrong