Love Lettering

My exploration of romance novels continues with this recommendation from Rohan. Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn is the story of Meg Mackworth, a designer who creates hand-lettered calendars, journals, and other designs. She has a good business, boosted by her internet presence and some media attention, but but Meg fears that a creative block will keep her from taking advantage of an exciting new opportunity that will enable her to build her profile and gain some financial security.

This is all on her mind when Reid Sutherland, a former client, returns to ask how Meg knew his planned marriage was a mistake and why she conveyed that message in a code on his wedding invitations. Meg, as it happens, found Reid’s indifference to her work and, seemingly, to the wedding plans, off-putting to be a bad sign and added the coded message on impulse, never imagining anyone would notice. Now, a year later, the wedding is off, and Reid is planning to leave New York.

Meg, for reasons that make little actual sense but are necessary to getting the plot moving, decides that Reid would be the perfect person to help her get past her creative block as she walks through the city for inspiration. And maybe those walks will help Reid learn to love the city, too! It’s not hard to guess what happens next, although, as I’ve learned, a certain amount of predictability is essential to the genre, and that’s not a bad thing.

I enjoyed watching Meg and Reid get to know each other and, especially, watching Meg learn that her first impressions of Reid were based on incomplete information (and a bit of stereotyping that isn’t really pursued within the book). Reid has problems of his own that Meg has no opportunity to understand, and a lot of the complications between them come down to him not being able to confide in her. Meg, too, is not able to share her feelings because of a tendency to fear confrontation (so relatable), born out of some bad experiences.

The relationship between Meg and Reid is the primary focus of the book, but Meg’s career and her waning friendship with her long-time best friend and roommate, Sibby, also receive some attention. And what she learns about herself as she gets to know Reid informs her decisions on both of these fronts, and vice versa.

One of the nice things about this story is that it involves people who have it together in a lot of ways but are dealing with some ordinary human flaws that make relationships difficult, but not impossible. Reid’s situation is not exactly typical, but Meg, as the book’s narrator, goes through some ordinary introspection and growth, as a result of getting to know Reid better and understanding herself more as she comes to know herself through his eyes. The relationship is not the sole catalyst for her growth, but it does help her, as any good relationship (romantic or not) can do. And the relationship is not a reward for growth, although Meg’s growth improves her ability to be in a relationship, as growth tends to do.

And I enjoyed that, through all the complications, I could anticipate that these two would be together at the end.

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2 Responses to Love Lettering

  1. Woohoo, yay for romance novels! I loved this one in particular because there was such a strong B-plotline about female friendship. It warmed my heart! In addition to how nice it is to have a happy romantic ending guaranteed, I also love the way romance novels often have this focus on the protagonists winding up in happier, more functional communities. Yay.

  2. Rohan says:

    You are totally right that the initiating plan makes no realistic sense at all. I suppose it’s like the way the murder rate in cozy English villages is bizarrely high or people drop dead when Poirot is in the vicinity – you need a mechanism to get things moving! I have the ebook of this one and was sad to see they were unable to reproduce any of the fancy fonts that are apparently in the paper version. I really enjoyed the ‘neepery’ around all things lettering.

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