Let me start by saying I love Nora Ephron. I love her books, her movies, her essays…everything. I was sad to hear of her passing away in 2012, and I was also selfishly sad that she wouldn’t be creating anything else for me to enjoy. So when I found out someone [Linda Yellin] wrote a book that largely revolved around Nora’s work, I was both excited and skeptical. I expected to be let down, because really, no one can compare with Nora, but I also had to read the book so I could defend my cynicism if interrogated.
‘What Nora Knew’ was a wonderful surprise! Like Ephron’s typical storylines, the book focuses on a female character who is in a not-so-fulfilling relationship. It’s not terrible, but it’s not terribly exciting. Molly [main character] is a self-admitted cynic, and she’s not apologizing. Without giving much away [because I want you to read this book yourself!], Yellin demonstrates what can happen when you’ve had your heart broken, how one relationship can affect your approach to everything, that breakups hurt even if you’re not in love, that you can become physically attracted to someone over time, and that Nora Ephron knew her stuff. I really liked Yellin’s writing style, and it quite reminded me of Nora’s. At times, the story would seemingly go into an emotional rant, and other times it would simply stop unexpectedly and pick up the next day. I found that to be one of the main parallels between Yellin and Ephron. There are multiple referrals to Ephron’s movies, so I’d suggest you watch You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally before reading ‘What Nora Knew.’ I appreciated it because they’re some of my favorites. While it’s a somewhat predictable book, Yellin is also super clever. It’s a nice balance of ‘I know what’s gonna happen’ and ‘wait, what?’ Overall, I was very happy with this book! I read it in one evening. [In case you care about these things, there are no sex scenes, but there are a few things mentioned in passing. There’s not a terrible amount of bad language, but there are a few instances throughout the book.]
If you are a fan or Nora Ephron or any of her work, I think this book is for you. If you’re not sure who Nora Ephron is but you like romantic comedies and a female lead, give this book a chance. I’m so glad I did! I give it four stars, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for Yellin’s work in the future.
Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:
Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with the Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.
Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year-old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance “in the style of Nora Ephron,” she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.
You can read an excerpt from the book on Linda Yellin’s webpage here.
You can purchase the book from Amazon here.
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Are you a Nora fan? Are you interested in reading this book? Or are you reading something great right now? Let me know in the comments!
Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book free on netgalley in exchange for an honest review.