REVIEW: WHAT NORA KNEW, BY LINDA YELLIN

81jZMIRrKRL._SL1500_New York writer Molly Hallberg is approaching forty years of age. Working for an online magazine in Manhattan, she longs for her own column, and hopes to avoid working in the family’s upholstery business.

Her marriage to Evan, who was supposed to be the one ended when he cheated on her. Now she is cynical and trusts nobody. Which is why she seems to have settled for dull, boring Russell, who feels comfortable.

When her boss assigns a piece on romance, in the style of “Nora Ephron,” Molly is at a loss. How can a cynic write such a piece? And, predictably, the article falls flat.

Along the way she meets a bestselling author named Cameron Duncan, who is charming, flirtatious, and with whom she connects. There is just one problem. How can she trust him?

I loved how Molly, the first person narrator, had conversations with famous people in her head, as if practicing for real-life interactions. She ruminated about scenes from Nora Ephron movies, like Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, and You’ve Got Mail.

Can Molly finally take a leap of faith, like the heroines in Nora’s movies? Is it possible for a cynic to learn to trust?
As Nora’s characters taught her:

“….You can’t settle for the wrong man; how can you not run toward love no matter how crazy romantic a fairy tale this story might seem?”

What Nora Knew was a fun journey along the road to romance, and I enjoyed the dialogue, the reminders of favorite movies, and the idea of creating your own happy ending. 4.0 stars.


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