writers and lovers review

Writers and Lovers Review: Lit Fic Gone Wrong

📖 GenreLit Fic, Romance, Contemporary
📃 Number of Pages320 pages
🪴 Average Goodreads Rating4.02 ⭐
🌻 My Rating2 ⭐

What is Writers and Lovers About?

Writers and Lovers by Lily King is a contemporary romance novel about Casey, a young writer who feels unmoored in her life. Her mother died recently, the man she loved left her, her debut novel is not going great, and she’s in debt. But then she meets and starts dating two different men: Oscar, an older famous author with children; and Silas, a young, free-spirited aspiring writer just like her. 

I’m always attracted to books about writers, especially if they’re romance books. Aside from the fact that writers falling in love is often utterly charming, it’s also fascinating to see how they work and view their creative process. 

So, naturally, I thought that Writers and Lovers would be the perfect book for me. It’s all about creativity, writing, and love. Perfect, right? 

Well, as it turns out, it was quite the opposite. 

While I do get why people would love this novel, my opinion is that it had too many plot points, an unlikable main character, a predictable romance, and an ending that can only be described as too neat. 

My Thoughts: What I Liked, Disliked & More

The Prose

The writing in this novel is simple and easy to read. I don’t have much to say about it, to be honest — it’s not memorably good, but also not so bad that I would go on a rant about it. It was there. 

However, I do have to complain about pages and pages of descriptions of Casey working at a restaurant. There’s more of that in this book than there are meaningful or beautiful passages about writing. And to be clear, I have nothing against books that talk about restaurant work and waiting tables — it’s just that this book was supposed to be about writing. 

The Plot 

Oh boy, where do I even begin? This book simultaneously had too much plot and no plot at all. Let me try to explain. 

The overarching plot is Casey finishing her novel and choosing between one of the two men. Which is fine as far as plots go (most romances follow pretty much the same road). But the problem is that Casey makes almost no decisions on her own. She’s propelled by the plot and other elements, without making any choices herself. There is no self-reflection or learning from experiences, nothing at all. So it feels pretty empty and dull. 

On the other hand, there are so many plot points, that you can barely keep track of them. 

  • Casey trying to finish her book and get it published
  • Casey deciding between two mediocre men
  • Casey’s old relationship with some married guy
  • Casey’s work situation; plus, the harassment she suffers there
  • Casey being a child golf prodigy and her father being a child molester
  • Casey’s cancer scare (which, just why?)
  • Casey looking for a job

There are probably a few more, these are just the ones I remember. And look, it wouldn’t be a problem at all if any of these plot points went somewhere. But most of them just exist for no reason. Casey’s medical issue storyline was not necessary because it added nothing to the overarching story. Casey being a golf prodigy and her father being a child molester has no effect on the plot or Casey as a character. 

So much of this novel could have been cut out so the focus can be on Casey’s journey as a writer and growth as a character. Instead, all her dreams came true and she changed nothing about herself. 

Writers and Lovers is often marketed as literary fiction, but I would argue strongly against that. It has all the major plot points of a romance/women’s lit. It doesn’t dive deeper into the issues of this character, or any of the themes mentioned in the novel. So, to me, this is a poorly done women’s lit novel. 

The Characters

You can probably tell already that I don’t like Casey, our main character. And it’s for a good reason: she’s extremely unlikeable, and the author did not mean her to be. 

You can tell that the author wrote her to be a relatable, funny, self-insert sort of creature. Unfortunately, she felt super flat to me. 

Casey is a thirty-one-year-old woman who doesn’t understand the concept of debt. In her mind, she went off to Europe, and her debt was supposed to be gone when she came back. So she’s completely flabbergasted when she owes even more money once she comes back. 

She has opportunities, skills, and education to find a better-paid job than waitressing. She even gets an interview to be a secretary. But she intentionally fails it because she wants to live a creative life. Whatever that means. And then she constantly whines that she doesn’t have any money or horrible health insurance. 

She starts dating two men at the same time. And sure, I support women’s wrongs, but the problem is that one of those men has children whose mother has recently died. So the children obviously get attached to her. The father (Oscar) should also know better, but in his mind, and according to everything Casey told him, she was interested in being with him in the long term. And then she dumps him, hurting his children along the way because what? He brushes his teeth before sex, he’s more mature and likes a comfortable, calm life. 

The author tried to do something with him being a misogynist and despising when women around him are more successful than him. Something about him overshadowing her. But it’s not a well-developed character arc and it feels abrupt. Or maybe not so abrupt because it’s pretty clear Silas (the free spirit) is the favorite here. 

I just don’t understand why Casey would end up with either of these men. She barely knows Silas because she spends most of the book with Oscar. Why couldn’t she have ended up alone? 

The Ending

But the most egregious sin this book commits is that it doesn’t give Casey any sort of character arc. She’s the same person at the end that she was at the beginning and that’s a problem. She doesn’t learn from her mistakes, she doesn’t change. Instead, the world around her does. 

She wants a teaching job at some school — great! But then instead of just accepting this job, she says at the first interview that she wants to change the curriculum so that her students only talk about how a book made them feel. No critical analysis, no talking about themes or messages. Just feelings. 

Which is fine if you want to review books like I do on a blog. But a school environment requires more. 

And yet, she gets the job. Not only that, but she gets to speak at a teaching event. 

She’s miserable and whiny and in debt, but she doesn’t do anything about it. Instead, she gets a very lucrative book deal for her debut novel within the first few weeks of finding an agent. There’s a bidding war! It’s a six-figure deal! 

And sure, this does happen sometimes, but it’s rare and unrealistic for a debut author. Most of all, it doesn’t feel earned. 

She even gets the guy in the end! Despite not spending virtually any time with him, and constantly choosing the other man over him. She doesn’t even need to apologize much. 

All of the other characters are flat and underwritten. They’re props in Casey’s story and nothing more. So, I won’t waste time talking about them.

Better Alternatives

If you want to read a book about writers, love, grief and more, here are better options: 

  • The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka: This is a lovely story about two co-authors who ended their partnership on bad terms and haven’t spoken in years. However, they have one more book to write together, as per their contract. To write it, they go back to their old writing house, and this forces them to solve their issues, as well as consider that there may be more between them than just a working partnership. I loved the discussion of writing and the creative process, their individual feelings about it, as well as just seeing the process of a book coming together.
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry: This may be a basic suggestion, everyone knows about Emily Henry, but it’s a wonderful book about two writers falling in love. There’s a lot about writing, a lot of romance, and I highly recommend it.
  • Seven Days in June by Tia Williams: Perhaps not my favorite (only because of the ending), but it’s a lovely exploration of writing and what it means to be writing a certain genre, as well as what happens when you want to change that.

If you want to see more of my favorites, check out my go-to recs for Lit Fic, Romance, Fantasy, and Classics.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *