- Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka
- Enemies to Lovers Trope
- 317 pages
- Beachy/Summer themes
Ending their writing partnership on bad terms, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen haven’t talked in years. In fact, they’ve done everything they can to avoid each other. Once a bestselling author team, now Katrina can’t even stand to hear Nathan’s name. Yet, when Katrina’s fiancé and literary agent tells her she needs to fulfill her publishing contract, the last thing on her mind is writing another book with Nathan. To appease her fiancé, Katrina is pressured into not only seeing Nathan again, but writing yet another story with him.
Forced to reunite through their shared love of writing, Katrina and Nathan are secluded in only each other’s company as they hole up in their Florida cottage writing retreat, where they wrote their last novel. Both writers awkwardly must face each other, and their shared resentment over past misgivings. Together, they work through their issues on the page, creating characters that undoubtedly appear as versions of themselves. While the prose of a new romance novel push them together, Katrina and Nathan learn that just like a good book, relationships sometimes need editing, too.
- 2/5 stars
There were a few things I really enjoyed about the writing style of this book. While I’m not typically a fan of co-writers, Wibberly and Siegemund-Broka did a great job connecting their prose to sound like one. Out of other dual-author books I’ve read, this one certainly was one of the better reads in terms of continuity and content flow. However, there were several areas in the book where I wondered who edited this novel—I often found myself needed to re-read sentences because they didn’t sound right. As far as writing style goes, I didn’t fall in love with this novel—Instead, I found the style to be frustrating. It certainly drew me out of what I was reading.
Character wise, both Katrina and Nathan are shallow and flawed. While this plays to the aspect of the plot, it also makes it difficult to connect with either character. Katrina has clear anxiety, but she appears as an attractive woman with enough confidence to appear as stand-offish to others. Nathan on the other hand, is described driving a Porshe and attracting other women in the Florida town they are staying in. I don’t think these characters were realistic enough for the average reader to feel connected to.
Overall, my least favorite aspect of this book was the constant bickering. While some enemies to lovers scenarios work well (think The Hating Game), The Roughest Draft was more arguing than romance. There was so much fluff about how to get in the mood to write and how to avoid the co-protagonist that hardly any “loving” was actually happening. I’m not entirely sure why this book is even considered a romance. I think the plot could have gone many different ways and actually have been more interesting. I would have liked to read more about Katrina’s growth and learning to manage her anxiety with Nathan, rather than listening to the two protagonists drone on about how they hate each other because of their lack of communication.
One thing this book does well? I loved the writing about Katrina’s fiancé, Chris. Chris is the clear “villain” in the novel, but most people have had a “Chris” in their life at some point or another. Katrina’s feelings about him and how she handles her life with him is somehow even deeper than what she describes with Nathan. Her trauma-bond with Chris and her decisions to become independent from him create a character-strength and development that just isn’t seen in the rest of this novel. I think many women would identify with this character-aspect and it’s notably the only redeemable quality that Katrina has.
While The Roughest Draft was a quick read, it was not one of my favorites. I think there were a lot of aspects in this book that could have been improved upon, namely the never-ending quarrels between the two protagonists. If you love the “enemies to lovers” trope, there are certainly better books out there.
Have you read The Roughest Draft? What were your thoughts on Katrina and Nathan’s relationship?
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