Published by Thomas Nelson on February 15, 2022
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Savannah Cade's dreams are coming true. The Claire Donovan, editor-in-chief of the most successful romance imprint in the country, has requested to see the manuscript Savannah's been secretly writing while working as an editor herself—except at her publishing house, the philosophy is only highbrow works are worth printing and commercial fiction, particularly romance, should be reserved for the lowest level of Dante's inferno. But when Savannah drops her manuscript during a staff meeting and nearly exposes herself to the whole company—including William Pennington, new publisher and son of the romance-despising CEO herself—she races to hide her manuscript in the secret turret room of the old Victorian office.
When she returns, she's dismayed to discover that someone has not only been in her hidden nook but has written notes in the margins—quite critical ones. But when Claire's own reaction turns out to be nearly identical to the scribbled remarks, and worse, Claire announces that Savannah has six weeks to resubmit before she retires, Savannah finds herself forced to seek the help of the shadowy editor after all.
As their notes back and forth start to fill up the pages, however, Savannah finds him not just becoming pivotal to her work but her life. There's no doubt about it. She's falling for her mystery editor. If she only knew who he was.
A cute story.
Savannah Cade is as associate editor at Pennington Publishing. Pennington is know for its integrity in the world of publishing, never dirtying their reputation with commercial fiction — like the romance novel Savannah is secretly working on. She has to submit her draft before the end of the business day to an editor from another publishing house who is willing to publish her romance novel but she needs to give it one last review. Since even assistant editors are always walking the halls with a novel in their hands, no one should notice exactly what Savannah is reviewing during the get to know you conference for their new Director.
William Pennington, son of CEO Marth Pennington, has just returned to Nashville after being let go from his big NYC publishing house to what—bail out this sinking ship? Everyone knows that Pennington Publishing is…behind the times in the world of publishing. What has worked for the last thirty years, doesn’t always help when it also means that a company won’t change with the times. No one is certain if William’s presence at Pennington will be a good thing or the last nail in the company’s coffin.
Regardless of what the future holds, Savannah is late for a meeting with one of her authors. But she first has to slip into her own secret hideaway in the back of the ARC room so she can leave her manuscript in a safe place. But when she returns for it, she sees the someone has written notes all over her manuscript declaring things such as her meet-cute is boring and her secondary character is unnecessary. Really the nerve and with her submission deadline looming, Savannah sends off her manuscript and tosses someone’s opinions in the back of her closet.
Imagine the horror when her story is rejected with a note that she didn’t embody the pitch that was presented. Savannah has 45 days to rewrite her novel and present it again before her dream of becoming an author wither and die forever.
In absolute desperation, Savannah once again leaves her manuscript in her secret hideaway and this time with a note pleading for help from her mystery editor
Working together with said mystery editor gives Savannah a new focus on her writing and while they only work through notes left for each other, Savannah is developing feelings for her mystery editor. Her bigger problem is, she is also developing some strong feelings toward her new boss.
This story plot is a happy place for us book nerds. who doesn’t fantasize about being a writer or an editor or just having the keys to the ARC room. Nirvana!
The author talks about magic of the ARC room. For anyone who has gone to a book conference, you know the magic of the ARC closet. An ARC room in a publishing house must be like opening the door to King Tutankhamun’s tomb. I would absolutely abuse that privilege if I worked at a publishing house. In fact, that’s where you would find me every lunch hour, trying to work my way through all the stacks before the turnover of new stock.
One funny thing is that the author should have taken her own notes regarding some of the criticisms of the mystery editor. There were too many secondary characters. The fact that Savannah’s old boyfriend was marrying her sister, who was an overachiever, wasn’t necessary to push the story of Savannah, her book and her mystery editor along. Will and Savannah had some cute moment and more time could have spent with them instead of building so many secondary characters. Savannah just needed her BFF at work to play off of and the rest were fodder.
The story could have definitely improved by listening to its own advice but it was fun to spend time in the world of book publishing.
Will and Savannah go to the County clerk to get some papers notarized. Unfortunately, it’s Valentine’s Day…
He register’s us coming in and stands, not really looking at us directly but at the stack of papers on his desk. “Stand here, please.”
“Uh, right,” Will says and shuffles uncertainly forward, raising his papers. Being always the squeaky-clean kind I am, I follow without question. “So–“
“Hold your questions to the end.” The man clears his throat. Then with one bony finger he hits the Play button on an ancient cassette player on the table. Suddenly, an organ booms “The Wedding March” through the speakers.
I feel instant hysteria rising in my chest, sort of like acid reflux that sizzles against the rib cage. I press my lips tightly together as I glance over at Will. One look however, only makes it worse. His usual cool persona has instantly collapsed, and his neck above his trim-fitting suit coat looks like it’s been out in the sun for twelve hours without sunscreen. In Bermuda.
“Dearly beloved,” the clerk says, reading from a paper on his desk, “At this time of”–he checks his watch–“1:14 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14, 2021, we are pleased to gather this fine gentleman…” He raises his eyes and gives Will a meaningful look.
“Uh, William Pennington, but I think we have a misunderstanding. This is the clerk’s office, yes?”
“That’s correct. To gather this gentleman, William Pennington, with this young lady…” He pauses and this time turns to look at me properly for the first time.
By this time I’ve got two bright spots on my cheeks.
I’m just opening my mouth, my mind undecided on whether to give my name and let the ruse go on a little longer, when Will throws an arm out, “Sir, I’m here to get these notarized.”
“We will notarize your marriage certificate at the end. Please, if you haven’t noticed, there are quite a few couples we have to get through. So if you don’t mind to just follow my directions–“
“We are not here to get married!” Will booms. And as though he needs to emphasize the point, he takes a gigantic step away from me.
At this point I can’t help but throw my hands over my lips to keep from going into hysterics over the entire situation. The clerk swivels his gaze to me and, clearly misunderstands my posture as being on the cusp of collapsing into tears, swallows hard.
He blinks, and his expression shifts to one of compassion.
He clears his throat. Opens a drawer and pulls out a pamphlet. “Actually, we have a room today for these little ‘moments.’ If you could just go down to 212, you’ll find a safe space to talk it over, and then”–he slants a meaningful look at me–“depending on how things go, you may get back in line if you wish. We recommend perusing this packet as well,” he adds, pushing it into my hands. I look down to an enormous stock photo of a ticking clock, with the words above: WHY WAIT?
Pressing my lips very, very hard together so as not to disrespect him by laughing at his kind offer, I pull my face into the most respectably peaceful expression I can manage and nod in gratitude.
“I’ll just wait in the hall,” I manage to all but whisper, my chest starting to burn with pent-up laughter.
Which I let out the second I shut the door and am back in the hall.
And for another several minutes I stand there outside the door, amid the lovestruck horde, grinning as I replay Will’s face in my mind. At last, Will opens the door, papers in hand.
The moment he does, his blue eyes lock on mine.
And we start to laugh.