I love a good British rom-com!
Title: Love, Unscripted
Author: Own Nicholls
Publication Date: February 11th
A film-obsessed romantic rewrites the script to understand why his “picture-perfect” love story crashed and burned in this wonderfully clever debut.
Ellie had the quizzical eyebrows of Broadcast News-era Holly Hunter and the neon-red hair of Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. At least, that’s what caught Nick’s attention when he met her on the night of 2008’s historic election. A cinema devotee and lover of great love stories, Nick always fancied himself the Tom Hanks of his own romantic comedy, and when sparks flew with Ellie that night, he swiftly cast her as the Meg Ryan of his story. For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job as a film projectionist: wholly, earnestly, cinematically.
But now Ellie has moved out, convinced “the fire’s gone,” and Nick is forced to sift through his memories to figure out where it all went wrong. The fallout from Ellie’s declaration that she “doesn’t love Nick the way she used to” throws him back into recollections of their first night together. Their shared jokes, her wry smile, the “hope” that filled the night air–his memories are as rose-colored as the Hollywood love stories he idealizes.
That night was a perfect meet-cute, yes, but was their romance as destined for a “happily ever after” as he’d thought? Is he really the rom-com hero he believes he’s been? Or did this Harry let his Sally down? Peppered with references to beloved movies, Love, Unscripted explores how even a hopeless romantic can learn that in real life, love isn’t, and shouldn’t be, like what we see in the movies.
This was right up my alley—a movie centric romance, riddled with references. I loved how much Nick truly loves the art of filmmaking from unabashedly loving Garden State to wanting to hold on to his job as a projectionist, unwilling to give in to digital films.
The great thing about this romance is that it could have been formulaic and cliche, it worked with dual timelines in a really great way: the night they met and four years later during the months after they break up. Then four pivotal moments from their actual relationship were told through intermission breaks and when looking at these four specific scenes of their relationship, Nick can understand and recognize where exactly everything went wrong. at times I wanted to shake Nick for being so obtuse.
I did have a little trouble connecting to the characters at the beginning, but as the story progressed we learned more about our couple and I became invested. Nick and Ellie are definitely flawed characters—there were times when I wanted to shake Nick for being so obtuse, but in the end, I was fiercely rooting for them.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.