Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
📖 Q: do you tend to remember your dreams?
Therese Beharrie’s And They Lived Happily Ever After features a concept I haven’t read before: what if whatever story you wrote down turns into a dream starring you as the protagonist that night? That would probably be more exciting if you were a romance writer, like Gaia Anders is in the book.
Gaia grew up in foster care & now prefers to stay away from other people. While taking 5 at a party she re-encounters Jacob Scott, her best friend’s younger brother who’s now a hot workaholic. They kiss IRL which doesn’t happen a lot for either of them.
Then Gaia writes a story and like usual, Jacob shows up in her dreams only not like usual, he’s aware that he’s in Gaia’s dreams & his mind is kinda blown.
Beharrie powerfully shows how Dream Life & Real Life compare & contrast for Gaia & the potential dangers of Gaia being able to write & live temporarily in a life that feels “safe” to her. Gaia lives with anxiety & fears of abandonment & Beharrie captures her wariness in a way that’s convincing but was also frustrating at times for me bc as a reader I wanted Gaia to trust Jacob (& be more willing to engage w/ her fears) a little faster 🙃.
The book itself doesn’t always feel like an effortless reading experience for me & the first chapter is a little bumpy—especially in terms of explaining the premise—but the convos about writing romance & being a woman “taking up space,” the dorky & sexy hero, the reference to Gaia’s cellulite & her willingness to “teach him what she liked” are all lovely.
This is one of those reads that’s a little hard to characterize but it boils down to: there’s a lot here to appreciate but the execution doesn’t always work for me.
4 ⭐️. Release date: 11/30.
Give me that HEA, please.
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