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The Rom-Commers


The Rom-Commers

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Center writes thoughtful, touching and clever rom-coms. Her latest novel, THE ROM-COMMERS, is one of her best yet. It's a rom-com about two screenwriters writing a rom-com. In true rom-com style, you will fall in love with the two protagonists.

Emma Wheeler has spent the last 10 years being her father's caretaker. It's a full-time job, and it's unpaid. She has given up prestigious screenwriting internships in Los Angeles because her father needs her, and her younger sister has a life to lead. But now her sister has graduated from college, and it's Emma's turn. At least that was the deal. Emma's one-time high school boyfriend has become a Hollywood agent. And she has been given an opportunity to go to LA to write a script for a rom-com with the golden boy of Hollywood, Charlie Yates. Actually, he's already written the script, and it's terrible. In fact, it’s total garbage.

"Each page feels both silky and thick, like expensive stationery. Even if you usually listen to books, I encourage you to pick up the hardcover. I plan to treasure it. You will, too."

Emma worships Charlie. She has watched every movie made from his scripts and all of his interviews. It’s possible that she knows more about him than he knows about himself. When she sees the script and realizes it's awful, she really wants to make it work. Writing a script with him would be her dream job. But Charlie is unaware that he’s getting a cowriter and explains to Emma that he doesn't believe in true love. How can you write a rom-com with that mindset?

There are reasons for this. And there are reasons that Emma feels guilty about leaving her father. Her narrative is completely charming and almost intimate as we learn about her and the tragedy that her family endured. The manner in which she seized the opportunity offered to her, her determination to show Charlie why romance is so important, her honesty in ripping apart his script in spite of her admiration for him and his body of work, and their growing romance all serve to keep our attention.

Of course, this being a romance, there is a "happily ever after." That's a must, a given. Just ask Emma! This is an incredibly "feel good" novel. I really loved the speech that Emma's father gives at a wedding at the end, in which he says, "Choose a good, imperfect person who leaves the cap off the toothpaste and puts the toilet paper roll on upside down, and loads the dishwasher like a ferret on steroids --- and then appreciate the hell out of that person. Train yourself to see their best, most delightful, most charming qualities. Focus on everything they're getting right. Be grateful --- all the time --- and laugh the rest off." What an inspiration! Happily ever after, indeed.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the absolutely stunning hardcover book. I wrote this review from an advance copy, and I was astonished when I received the finished product in all its glory. It's truly a work of art --- from the bright neon pink and orange on the front cover to the orange inside cover, the neon pink-sprayed page edges, and the custom endpapers that match the pattern of Emma's dress in a very important scene in the novel. Not only do the endpapers carry the green leafy print, the following page does as well. Each page feels both silky and thick, like expensive stationery. Even if you usually listen to books, I encourage you to pick up the hardcover. I plan to treasure it. You will, too.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on June 14, 2024

The Rom-Commers
by Katherine Center