Many thanks to Berkley Romance for a gifted copy of The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka out THIS Tuesday, January 25, 2022!
When Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen met at a writer’s retreat, they immediately felt a synergy they turned into a successful writing partnership. Three years ago, their book topped bestseller lists, was translated into multiple languages, and was courted for film rights. But, by the time they finished the book, they’d had a falling out so severe, they haven’t spoken since. Though many have speculated on the reasons behind their professional breakup, neither have ever revealed details.
Now, both are facing personal dilemmas that would be solved if they fulfilled their contract for one final manuscript. They agree to spend two months together writing in the same Florida beach house where they crafted their bestseller. Three years of hatred, though, isn’t easy to overcome, and if they don’t work out their relationship, they might not be able to achieve writing magic.
Authored by a husband-wife writing team, the book provides interesting insight into the process of co-writing and the demands following a literary success. It also asks how much writers can separate life and fiction—Nathan and Katrina have opposing opinions. The book also has a great cast of secondary and tertiary characters I’d have liked to have seen even more of: Harriet, a sarcastic writer who lives nearby; Jen, Nathan’s blunt agent; and Liz, the pair’s eclectic editor. Chris, Katrina’s cutthroat agent, is more one-dimensional, and I wish he’d had greater depth of characterization.
As Katrina and Nathan argue plot points, they confront their personal demons, and at times Katrina frustrated me with her long-standing and extreme self-sabotage which at times seemed to conflict with how she was described (confident, direct, flirtatious). Nathan explains, that book conclusions are “the culmination and subversion of everything preceding, the satisfaction of expectations and the joy of the unexpected.” I did feel this way by the end of the book!
The fabulous cover, I think deliberately evokes Emily Henry’s book. I think readers who like her books would enjoy The Roughest Draft as well as those who like frenemies to lovers!