I received a gifted galley of THE ROUGHEST DRAFT by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Brokan for an honest review. Thank you to Berkley Publishing for the opportunity!
Rating: 3 / 5
Publication Date: 1/25/2022
THE ROUGHEST DRAFT follows two authors, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen. Four years ago they were a fantastic writing duo and their last release really put them on the map. Unfortunately, their partnership came to a bitter end after that book. Nathan has been trying to make a go of being a solo author without a lot of success. Katrina has given up writing altogether.
Each has their own personal struggles (Nathan’s failing career, Katrina’s fiancée and agent pressuring her to give writing another go) so they agree to team up for one more book to fulfill the remaining book on their contract. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, but they meet in Florida for a writer’s retreat of sorts to buckle down and make it through, writing their next romance… about divorce.
This isn’t your typical feel good rom com type of romance and there are a lot of hurt feelings between the two characters. It switches back and forth between their POVs, both in the present day and in the time period when they were last working together four years ago. I think the authors did a fantastic job of balancing the shifts between chapters to always keep the reader wanting more.
We don’t initially know what happened between the characters to break up their partnership and it’s a slow burn reveal as we start to get clues here and there. We know that Nathan’s marriage broke up shortly after that time period and that Katrina’s rocky relationship with their agent started afterwards as well, but the authors are keeping things close to the vest. I definitely was questioning whether I would like these characters by the time everything was revealed, but I think it came to a satisfying conclusion.
I really enjoyed getting the author perspective on writing a book here and the way the characters bickered and compromised over plot, scenes, and even individual word choices. This being written by a writing duo gave some extra authenticity to this process as well.
THE ROUGHEST DRAFT is available today!