Book editor Emily Bryant finds herself unexpectedly in the charming town of Cascata on California’s Lost Coast, holding the keys to her grandmother’s rambling Victorian mansion. While sorting through her grandmother’s things, Emily learns that she must edit old manuscripts to inherit the estate. It’s a strange request from a family member who was basically a stranger.
Emily quickly realizes that there’s something different about these manuscripts. Any changes she makes come true. At first, she embraces the gift. She has a chance to help characters find true love or chart a new course for their future. But then things go terribly wrong. Her edits have the opposite effect. The sweet and funky seaside community of Cascata is reeling from the chaos Emily has created. Everything she thought she believed about her family and her past is in jeopardy, and no amount of editing can fix the damage she’s done.
Then she finds one last manuscript. If Emily can get this edit right, maybe she’ll have a chance to create a new narrative for herself and everyone around her.
I received a copy of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.
“Small talk had never been my forte, as the honorable Miss Austen would say. With one exception. Books. If anyone brought up the topic of books or asked me my favorite read, I gushed like a thirteen-year-old girl. It was a serious problem.”
Let’s just start with the most obvious amazing trait that this book possesses: relatability. If it wasn’t apparent from the above quote, Emily Bryant is one of the most relatable MCs that I’ve read. She was so real and nerdy and delightful-yet-slightly-awkward. It felt like we would be great friends. I also have a strong impulse to go buy a historic Victorian mansion on the coast of Northern California, because the lifestyle that these characters lived out there sounds absolutely perfect (if a bit chillier then I would prefer).
On to the plot – this book felt like a Hallmark movie that I would intentionally watch. You know the rare ones that are still sweet and cozy, but also have an original plot line that isn’t predictable and draws you in because you have to see how it ends? One of those. It was the perfect combination of coziness and unpredictability, and I had no idea how it was going to end. On the topic of endings, there was one element of the ending that reminded me so much of Caroline George and her books The Summer We Forgot and Dearest Josephine. The ending was left in that beautiful in-between, where we get a bit of an explanation for something, but a lot is still left to our imagination.
I really only have two complaints. The first is that it felt like there was too many details given at certain parts, especially in regards to what her outfits looked like or the flora and fauna around her. Having all of the specific flower species named really only distracted me, because I am barely familiar with the flowers we have in North Carolina, much less the ones in California. The level of details didn’t really add anything to the plot or setting, and made it read almost like a fanfic at parts.
My second complaint is that the ending felt really rushed. With all of the tension with Emily’s family, it felt like we were building to something big (especially since we were introduced to a potential love interest), but then it just ended rather abruptly. Personally, I would have preferred it to be drawn out a bit more, but I am also super committed to my happily-ever-afters and like to have time to fully soak them in. 🙂
Overall, this was a delightful read, and if anyone needs me, I’ll just be over here planning a Great Gatsby party like Gertrude’s.
Content Warning: There are a handful of words like s**t, a**, and b***h. Other than that (and a brief, slightly witty comment about a porn shop), the book is clean!