Every Gal Needs a Little Nora–A Review

After a failed marriage, how do you let your heart love again?

What Nora KnewThat’s the problem facing Molly Hallberg in Linda Yellin‘s new contemporary romance WHAT NORA KNEW.

Molly’s a 39 y/o divorced woman living in New York. She writes the human interest column for an online magazine, EyeSpy. So, she does wacky things like go undercover as a professional bra fitter, or go parachuting, and then writes about the experience. In Molly’s wit and job antics I found an instant kinship to Bridget Jones–always a plus, for me.

Molly’s romantic misadventures are mainly limited to her philandering ex. She never dated much, and in the five years since her divorce she’s only has couple of boyfriends. Her current beau, chiropractor Dr. Russell Edley, is the epitome of “safe”. She has a pleasant time with him. Very pleasant. And comfortable.

Besides, Molly likes comfortable. Her ex was challenging and fiery. And a cheater. So, why seek out passion? It’s bound to lead to trouble, right?

Except Molly’s big new story is to write a piece about finding one’s soul mate–in the spirit of Nora Ephron. [For those who don’t know Nora Ephron think: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, or You’ve Got Mail, because she wrote those screenplays.] So, Molly, relationship washout and romantically-challenged Molly, is supposed to write an upbeat, quirky, fun article about finding one’s soul mate.

She bombs.

Along the way she goes undercover as a speed-dater, and meets best-selling author Cameron Duncan at a Hamptons garden party. Cameron’s recurring character Detective Mike Bing falls in love with a new girl in each book, because none of them survive to a second novel. Being a bit critical of Mike Bing’s skills as a detective, Molly’s a bit shocked to discover her anti-romance comments tweeted out by Cameron. Oh, and the Nora-like romance piece? Cameron writes it, freelance.

In fact, she’s running into Cameron at odd turns. Their repartee smacks of the Meg Ryan-Billy Crystal When Harry Met Sally back-and-forth. It’s fun and bright. Totally unlike her banter with Russell. Watching her friends, her spinster older sister–and even her grandmother!–find the passionate love they’d always sought gives Molly pause.

Had love truly existed all around her but she was too closed off to witness it? And, could she find it, too? More importantly, would she risk her comfort to grasp a real love after surviving a humiliating divorce?

In this, Molly channels Nora. Nora had been jilted. Twice. Betrayed by two husbands and a best friend. But Nora later found love and wrote some of the most timeless romances, filled with hope and risky choices. Cameron pushes all of Molly’s buttons–and she realizes that he’s really quite the decent guy. Maybe a guy worth risking her pride, and her heart, to love. Until he inadvertently scoops her coveted column…

This quiet romance pulls all the right strings. Molly learns to trust herself, and Cameron, and give love a shot. In true Ephron homage we get grand gesture ending that satisfies. I loved it.

I got an advance copy for review via NetGalley, but the book comes out January 21st. You can pre-order WHAT NORA KNEW at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Or, wait until next week to get it at your local bookstore.

If you pick it up make sure to come back and let me know if you liked it. And, as always, keep reading my friends!