Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Nora makes a living writing cheesy formulaic scripts for The Romance Channel. When her selfish and entitled husband finally leaves her, all she feels is relief. She writes about it and sells the script to Hollywood, and famous actor Leo Vance is playing the part of her ex husband. The film crew arrive to shoot a few scenes in the cosy writing retreat in her garden she calls the Tea House. She is surprised to find Leo has stayed behind when everyone else has left. He offers to rent the Tea House for a week to get away from the pressures of his fame.

Nora likes to watch the sunrise on her porch every morning, Leo joins her and they get to know each other better. His fascination with everyday life is both touching and hilarious. He wins over Nora, her children, Arthur and Bernadette, and everyone he meets in the local town. Inevitably, they fall in love, but just when all is going well a major misunderstanding puts everything in jeopardy.

A lot of the romance novels I have read recently have been a big disappointment. It is not easy to get it right. The story may have its flaws, but this can be overlooked if the characters and their mutual attraction are believable. Nora Goes Off Script is one of the good ones. The characters are well written and convincing, and the witty dialogue is an added bonus. Bearing in mind the ‘hero’ is a famous actor, the plot may be a touch unrealistic, but this is fiction, and I for one really enjoyed it.

The story is told entirely from Nora’s point of view, and we get to know all her thoughts and fears. She is a survivor and will be alright no matter what life throws at her. Arthur and Bernadette’s relationship with Leo contrasts with how their real father behaved towards them. The story is all the better for the inclusion, as children don’t often feature so prominently in books like this. I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the film industry, and really wish I had a porch to watch the sunrise from. This is the first book by Annabel Monaghan that I have read, it’s her debut adult novel, and I’m really looking forward to what she writes next.