Travel ‘Works to Shake Things Up,’ Says the Novelist Emily Henry

Over the last three years, the novelist Emily Henry has established a solid beachhead on summertime best seller lists with a series of travel-related rom-coms, starting with“Beach Read” in 2020, and followed by last summer’s “People We Meet on Vacation” and this year’s “Book Lovers.” All three novels currently share space on The Times’s combined Print and E-book fiction list.

In her books, a youngish woman — a writer or writer-adjacent — at a crisis point in her life, lights out for new territory where (not to give any spoilers), she finds her true calling — and her true love.

In “Beach Read,” dueling novelists occupy neighboring houses on a lake in Michigan, sparring until, of course, they stop. In “People We Meet on Vacation,” the travel writer Poppy Wright spends part of each summer taking a trip with her best friend from college, Alex Nilsen, who, dear reader, you know from the get-go is Mr. Right, even as the two of them hide from the inevitable. In “Book Lovers,” it is the hard-driving literary agent Nora Stephens who travels to the small North Carolina town of Sunshine Falls, only to encounter her nemesis from the Manhattan book scene, the editor Charlie Lastra.

Another theme in her books is the pull of family. Ms. Henry, 31, grew up in Cincinnati with two older brothers, and she, her husband and their dog live there now, near her parents. She fondly remembers their family trips, even if they did sometimes end up fighting “like a too-many-headed beast,” she said.

“We all still try to semi-regularly take trips together, which obviously can be complete chaos, but I just have so much nostalgia for that,” said Ms. Henry, who is at work on next summer’s novel. “I can’t talk about that yet,” she said

Read the rest