Book Review: A Novel Proposal by Denise Hunter

I love a story with a writer as the main character, because . . . well, you know, because I’m a writer. When I realized A Novel Proposal also involved a Little Free Library (like my Summer 2024 debut!), I had to add it to my TBR list.

Denise Hunter has long been a favorite author of mine, and A Novel Proposal is now one of my favorite books from her. If you love beachy love stories with a side of mystery, your going to want to add this one to your own TBR. I listened to the audiobook and thought the narrator did a great job if you’re like me and have more time to listen than read.

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Like most writer heroines, Sadie Goodwin’s career is hanging in the balance as we begin the book. After her Western novels have delivered only lackluster sales, she’s now tasked with writing a romance to save her career. Except she’s never even been in love, so how is she supposed to write a romance novel?

Sadie decides to take an invitation to spend the summer at a friend’s beach duplex in South Carolina so she can concentrate on the task at hand. And, wouldn’t you know it, the neighbor on the other side of the duplex is as handsome as he is stubborn. Not going to lie . . . I love this trope (another good book for this one is Teri Wilson’s Love at the Shore, which was first a Hallmark movie).

Some books of this variety would focus on the banter between the heroine and her hunky neighbor, but what really made this book a page turner was the mystery at the heart of it. After Sadie installs a Little Free Library just outside the house for fellow beachgoers, she finds a book inside that holds a diamond ring in its carved out interior.

How would someone forget there was a diamond ring inside a book they were donating? And who does it belong to?

Sadie enlists the help of neighbor and lifetime local Sam to help her find the ring’s owner before his proposal is ruined. But, finding the owner proves more difficult than they imagined, meaning they’ll have to spend even more time together.

The more Sadie gets to know the real Sam, the more she realizes he’d make the perfect romance hero. Maybe because she’s starting to feel a little romance herself. They say all writers take inspiration from their own lives, and Sadie is no different.

But what happens when your real-life crush finds out they’ve been fodder for your novel? And what about the ring — will they ever find the owner?

This novel is packed full of mystery and romance that will keep you turning the pages. I also loved that each chapter started out with a writing tip based on classic romance beats. As a romance writer, those were a particularly fun addition.

So, what are you waiting for? Add A Novel Propsal to your TBR list!

Looking for another beachy love story with a little mystery? Check out The Magic of Sea Glass from Jenny Hale next!


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