Review: “A Love For The Pages” by Joy Penny

a love for the pages

A review by Vanessa.

First I would like to thank the author, Joy Penny, for the opportunity to read and review her book, A Love for the Pages.

June has just returned home from her first year of college, and is desperately trying not to be sucked into a job at her annoying step-father Cooper’s work. At 19, she really just wants to spend the summer after working so hard her freshman year, reading her favorite classics: Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre. When her friend Margot offers June her position volunteering at the local private library, June sees an opportunity to convince her step-father and mother that she is being productive for the summer. Also, she’ll get to escape the awkwardness of spending every day all day with Cooper who is much more obsessed with her practical, successful future than June is. The position is not hard, but it comes with it’s own awkwardness in the form of June’s ex, the gorgeous, and younger, Sinjin. June is not interested in starting things up again with Sinjin, but she can’t help being attracted. That is until Mr. Rockford, generous and handsome benefactor of the Rockford Private Library where June now volunteers, literally falls into her path. They meet in a storm where June accidentally causes Rockford to fall from his bike and sprain his ankle, like the first meeting between Jane and Mr. Rochester…. and suddenly June cannot stop seeing eerie similarities between her experiences with Rockford, and scenes from her favorite classics. He is all her hero characters rolled into one apparently, and June is faced with the prospect of a modern day classic hero. Except in the modern day, those classic scenes do not feel quite like what she was expecting…

I must admit when I first started reading the book I was a little apprehensive about it. I was somewhat afraid that scenes in the book would directly reflect famous scenes from those beloved classics, and that June’s experiences would simply be purloined from those fictional ladies. At times June seems to be adrift in the story, allowing things to merely happen to her rather than being the active one in her own story. However, the author did a very good job of weaving into those scenes and dialogue June’s ability to be her own character and drawn her own conclusions from those experiences. The reader gets the feel of those classic moments with those well known characters, but with an understanding from June that somehow they don’t fit in today’s world. It is strange waters to navigate between appreciation for romantic classics that are still popular, and the men that populate them, and a more modern understanding of the dynamics of relationships. June herself even acknowledges, though she is in love with her favorite books and the characters in them, they aren’t the standard ideal for a relationship. The men in them, though admirable in many ways, are quite often complete and total jerks by today’s standards. But there is something in our hearts that still longs for that kind of romantic epic love, and I think that is why it is so easy to relate to June. At the same time, the feminist in all of us rebels against such domineering male standards and is proud to see June resist the temptation to fall easily and instead choose to fight for something more real. This book has a surprising depth that I found enchanting, and I would recommend it both to those who have read the classics, and those who have not.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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