What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

“What’s interesting about knowing an ending?”
“Well, in Sleepless in Seattle…we know Meg will end up with Tom. But it’s not about who she’s going to end up with. We still want to keep watching. We’re mesmerized by the journey.”

And I think that quote perfectly sums up What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin. Because this book is a good old-fashioned rom-com. Read the blurb and you’ll guess the ending. But of course it’s not about the ending, it’s about getting there and Yellin does it brilliantly.

It’s the story of Molly Hallberg (neurotic but not ditzy) – she’s a writer who has been given the task of putting together a piece on Nora Ephron-style romance in New York – a project she finds challenging and that has her questioning her own relationship (with Russell, the perfectly suitable but dull chiropractor-and-Nicolas-Cage-and-WordsWithFriends-fan).

“Order in ziti, light some candles, and toss on some Kenny G.”

Enter man-about-town, Cameron Duncan, who challenges Molly’s ideas about romance. I don’t really need to say much more, do I? You know what happens.

Ephron’s influence is felt throughout the novel, from couples’ ‘how we met stories’ (a la When Harry Met Sally) and Sleepless in Seattle references to Greg Kinnear comparisons and the need to make grand gestures. Thankfully Yellin doesn’t attempt to mimic Ephron’s writing style but instead pays homage – there’s a few one-liners (sly and dry), snappy dialogue and a cast of characters that are so perfectly drawn that you can’t help but cast the movie in your mind as you read. Because I have no doubt that What Nora Knew will be made into a movie.

“After settling in – Hamptons talk for ‘unpacking’ – we were instructed to meet in the lanai – that’s what Pammie and Bruce call their covered porch furnished with three full-size sofas and a table long enough to hit the border of Westhampton. When you own more than a seven-or-eight-room house, you start making up names for the overspill rooms.”

4.5/5 Chick-lit at its best.

I received my copy of What Nora Knew from the publisher, Gallery Books via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I won’t say why but enjoy this story with jujubes.


7 responses

  1. As you know, I’m not a huge chick-lit/rom-com fan. But I will be reading this one (in fact, I just requested it) because I love Nora Ephron and Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, etc. I need something lighthearted where everything works out (this month all the appliances broke in my house, my dishwasher even caught on fire – this calls for a happy ending obviously).

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