Booklist a Starred Review – May 1, 2022
Nora Hamilton is slowly getting out of debt after her husband left her and their two children. She makes a living writing formulaic scripts for the Romance Channel, a Hallmarkesque network, in the little tea cottage behind her crumbling old house. Except after Ben left, she wrote a different kind of script, and now it is being made into a prestige film starring Leo Vance. Filming only takes a few days, but Leo doesn’t leave. He needs a break from Hollywood, and he’s charmed by Nora’s small town and her mundane days picking up kids from school and grocery shopping. They start an affair, and it’s just like one of her movies, until it’s not, and Leo is called away to test for a big-budget superhero flick. If this really was one of her scripts, he would roll back into town, but the longer he’s away, the less likely that seems. Columnist and YA author Monaghan’s first adult novel is brimming with compelling characters. Nora, especially, is relatable, a practical woman who keeps her feet on the ground even as she is romanced by a movie star. Readers will connect with the warmth and humor of this relationship-fiction gem.

Publishers Weekly – April 22, 2022
In Monaghan’s irresistible adult fiction debut, (after the humor book Does This Volvo Make My Butt Look Big?) she introduces romance screenwriter Nora Hamilton, who pumps out happily-ever-after stories for cable television while cynically processing her divorce from Ben, who fell out of love with Nora and lost interest in having a family. After she veers from her previous script formula for one based on her ill-fated marriage, Hollywood comes calling. Enter Leo Vance, People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” cast as Nora’s ex. The production includes two days at Nora’s house, and when filming wraps, Leo offers to pay her $1,000 a day to stay for a week. There, he enjoys the real-world pleasures of grocery shopping, directing a children’s play, and eating average home-cooked meals. Arthur and Bernadette, Nora’s children, are equally smitten with Leo, and as the week goes on, his presence offers them a new sense of family. After Leo is called away for work, Nora must find a way to carry on and deal with her feelings about Ben, Leo, and the romance genre, now that she’s actually put her heart on the line. With pitch-perfect characters full of foibles and flaws, the work taps into genuine feelings as the characters fall in love. This is a winner. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff Literary. (June)

Kirkus Reviews – April 15, 2022
“Monaghan takes a fairly basic rom-com plot [and] flips it on its head by making the focus not the love story but the inner growth of the heroine, Nora. While Leo is, of course, very important, Nora’s discovery of her own needs and desires, especially in contrast to the person she had made herself into when married to her ex, is the driving force of the narrative. . . A light romance that’s heavy on self-care and acceptance.” The full review is pasted below.