A Novel Romance: The Inaccurately-Title Hallmark Movie: A Recap

Hey, did you know there was a movie called A Novel Romance on the Hallmark Channel this weekend? It stars a male romance author (we know) and a book reviewer. We obviously watched, and recapped, to help you through this dreary Monday. (As book reviewers, we are happy to report that this movie is not based on true events. We swear.)

And continuing in our quest to keep you apprised of the happenings of any and all Angel stars, Amy Acker stars.

Let us begin!

It’s our beloved New York City. A handsome man sits in front of a gorgeous window and a giant desk and writes purple prose. This looks like all your set ups, right authors?!

He rushes out to meet “Jackie” and spies two middle-aged women (romance readers, doncha know) kvelling in front of a book store’s window display. They can’t wait for Gabriel August’s next book — or to find out the author’s real identity. (We already know because we have seen a movie/read a book before.)


Sing it, Cumberbatch
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Our handsome man, whose name is Liam, doesn’t want to come out as Gabriel August. Jackie tells him he has to encourage a relationship with his readers (true!). Even though he’s been a bestseller so far. (Being anonymous totally works because authors don’t have to market themselves constantly from the second they get their contract. Right. (We can tell our spouse will be heading to bed soon, we are going to be ZERO fun watching this movie.)) Liam’s manuscript is due, and he has writer’s block. She tells him to get his act together, maybe head to their cabin in Portland to write? (Why don’t we have a cabin in Portland? We really want one. Oregon or Maine, we’re not picky!) After all, his parents loved it there.

Liam’s on a plane, headed to Portland — Oregon, it turns out! And who’s his seatmate, but the adorable Amy Acker. She is aging well. She was in NYC for job interviews. They drink champagne in first class. She’s reading his new book, obviously. She got an advanced copy! She liked the first book better. Burn! She tells him about the “ridiculous” Who is Gabriel August? marketing campaign, but admits that she — along with every woman in America (that’s a lot of women!) — is curious.

They land and Amy rushes off to work. He chases after her and fine it’s pretty cute. He offers her a lift in his limo. Liam tries to ask her out, but she has plans, her besties are getting married and she has to go to their engagement party. Then … they take selfies. IDEK, you guys. She leaves, and he follows her again. “Why doesn’t he just ask her out? What is he doing?” my husband asks me. Sophie runs up the stairs to her job … at the local newspaper. Sophie tells her work friend the job interviews at a few magazines in New York went well, but she’s not sure she wants to move. Friend tells her she may have to, the lay offs keep coming.

Liam shows up at the “cottage” and it is huge and gorgeous. Now he’s sitting outside to write but instead is Google stalking Sophie. As one does.

Sophie’s showing off the limo selfie at her friend’s engagement party. They are dubious as to why Sophie didn’t get Liam’s info. What, you’re not into hot guys anymore? best friend with a kicky hair cut hilariously asks. GOOD ONE, BEST FRIEND. Some pro football player is mouthing off on one of the TVs. Sophie looks pained. The bartender assures Sophie she was too good for the player — who cheated on her quite publicly. (P.S. this is a lame engagement party.) Sophie says she’s okay, she’s just learned her lesson about dating famous people. WE ALL KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING.


It’s handy that there are a lot of these.
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The newspaper Sophie works at is in dire straits — their editor says they need to spice things up  with extreme opinions. Sophie says, hilariously, with furrowed brow, “You don’t mean we should write things we don’t believe in — do you?” Of course, because we’ve seen movies before we know, Sophie gets assigned to cover Liam’s big reveal, which Jackie has moved to the local Portland bookstore, totally no problem, two days before a national event. Yup!


Even Snape is over it.
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Jackie, who has flown out from New York, gets ready to introduce Gabriel to the world. Liam spies Sophie. And then he runs away. Ha!

Liam is pouting on his boat, as one does. Jackie is, inexplicably, not super pissed. His publisher is, though! Jackie has that all under control, though. We all need a Jackie in our lives. Jackie also, in a move that basically never happens, shows him a bad review from the local paper. Liam’s not mad, though, because guess who wrote the review! Go ahead, guess. SOPHIE. YOU ARE SO SMART.

Off Liam goes to find her. He fake runs into her. And this time he mans up and asks her out. She finally says yes.

She googles him, and finds an article about his parents. Who were, apparently, movie stars who died in a plane crash when Liam was 19.  Nervous about dating again after her lying, famous ex, she decides to take him to her regular bar, so her bartender buddy and friends can meet Liam and feel him out. Metaphorically.

Liam arrives to pick up Sophie and the besties are in residence for interrogation. (Besties kind of seem to hate each other, even though they’re engaged.) Liam passes the first round, so they head to the bar, where bartender Harris likes him too!

Sophie (who I keep thinking of as Fred in my head) has one more test for Liam — she wants to see him at work.

Jackie is still hounding Liam about the reveal. He’s pushing her off, she is not having it. But he’s writing!

Liam is lunching with Jackie, arguing over the reveal as Sophie hides in the bushes, no lie. Liam spots her and Sophie blunders over, awkwarding all over the place. She recognizes Jackie, and even Jackie is like, I’m an agent, who recognizes agents. Then she invites Sophie to join them for lunch. It’s awkward.com.


We know, dude.
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After Sophie leaves, Jackie speaks for us all when she tells Liam to just tell Sophie the truth. High five, Jackie!

Liam and Sophie go for a walk. She tells him she knows about his dead famous parents, and cops to having a famous ex-fiancé. They kiss.

Heading to work, Sophie spies Liam talking to her blonde work wife. They seem to make a date, but it’s all very unclear. That night, Liam calls Sophie to check in, which is so cute, and says he’ll be working all night. So Sophie obviously shows up at the bar where work bestie is going to be, to see if Liam was lying. Blonde friend is with someone totally different. Like. What is happening.

The next morning Sophie is echoing my thoughts to her besties, basically, how could I be so dumb, what is wrong with me? Don’t feel too bad, Fred. Remember when you got back from that hell dimension and had to relearn how to be in society? That was worse than this. Also, remember that you’re starring in a Hallmark movie and it has to be two hours long.


Seriously miss this show.
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She decides to come clean and tell Liam everything that night on their date. Tell him what? I don’t know, you guys.

Liam, meanwhile, tells Jackie that he’s going to come clean to Sophie on their date that night (wacky!). Liam, at least, has actual information to reveal.

Liam takes Sophie to the cabin for dinner. It’s sweet, you guys. He tries to tell her his secret, but she does that thing that people do in movies when they interrupt a confession with their own, lamer confession? Sophie tells him about how her breakup went viral, and how she’s never going to date a famous person again — or a lying liar. So. You can imagine how Liam feels. And whoa — he drops the L bomb! Liam! Sophie reacts like we do, “Okay!” They smooch.

The next day Liam is telling Jackie he can’t do the reveal. He wants to talk to the publisher himself, and makes plans to fly to New York. Meanwhile at the paper, Sophie’s section is being cut. There’s the line, “Book reviews don’t have enough juice these days.” Except when you’re RT BOOK Reviews, amirite? She’s upset and needs time to think about her next steps. She has a plan and Liam is like the most supportive new boyfriend ever, except for the lying about a lot of stuff. Details!

So! Sophie’s going to start a review website. IS LIFE IMITATING ART OR WHAT? RivetingReads.com. (We checked, Hallmark Channel did not spring for the tie in.) She made it in one night. Which is not a thing that happens. Bestie and Harris are supportive.

Back in New York, Liam asks the publisher to not reveal his identity. Apparently they have a contact that stipulates this? It’s tied into his book release, which, fine, I kinda get. Liam gets shut down. So they fly back to Portland so he can tell Sophie before the publisher-mandated big reveal. Except she cancels their date so she can quit her job!

Indeed, Sophie quits. Her editor asks, “Can you make a living doing that?” when she tells him her plan. She also tells him she can’t cover the Gabriel August reveal for the paper as a last byline — she’s covering it for her own website. Twist? No. This movie is very predictable.


You didn’t think I’d find another one, did you?
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Liam is still trying to get Sophie on the phone. He goes to her office, but she’s already gone. No good bye happy hour?

Liam rushes to the reveal, where Sophie’s waiting in the crowd. Sneaking in through the back entrance, he tells Jackie he can’t go through with it — he can’t tell Sophie with everyone else. Jackie is on the case. I love Jackie. Let’s give her a Hallmark movie! Or maybe she wants to be on Cinemax Lite with Charisma?

Jackie tells Sophie she can have an exclusive with Gabriel, and sends her back to talk to Liam. Liam launches into a When Harry Met Sally worthy monologue, then spills. She gets mad and runs away, she can’t believe she let this happen again. Except it’s totally different! But okay. Also, what about your website, girl? Prose before bros. No?

Now it’s time for a montage of them brooding. Tra la la.

Sophie’s brooding on a picturesque bridge — what is this, Gilmore Girls? No. No it is not. Liam arrives, her bestie ratted her out. He’s going back to New York. Amy’s hair looks amazing. She forgives him, she just doesn’t want to date another famous guy. The horror. He leaves and heads to the airport — and starts writing on the plane.

Six months later!

Liam hands over his new manuscript to Jackie, with his own byline. She’s ready to fight with the publisher for him. She sees the dedications and books a flight to Portland. She also steals my Oregon/Maine joke. It’s okay, love you, Jackie.

Sophie’s hard at work on her website — she even hired work bestie! Because that’s a thing that happens right away. Jackie arrives and hands over Liam’s manuscript. That’s another thing that would totally happen. The book is, of course, dedicated to Sophie.

The publisher is not cool with Gabriel being Liam instead. Jackie wows them with “market research.” But really, what’s the big deal about using a pen name, dude? IDEK. I know a grand gesture is required at this point in the story, but, meh.

Suddenly, Liam’s book is being published and there’s another press event happening. So it’s like two years later? Whatever. I rewound like three times to make sure there wasn’t another one year later time jump. Nope! Jackie introduces Liam, and he is charming as he discusses his totally inexplicable change to no pen name. He answers questions — and of course one of them is from Sophie! She walks toward the stage and for a second I thought she was pregnant and I was like: at last, a surprise! But nope. They have like a crazy emotional conversation in front of the audience. Good thing Sophie’s not shy! OH WAIT. They kiss! Everyone applauds. What? The end, that’s what!

Hope you’re enjoying Movie Monday here at RTBookReviews.com — a website that it took longer than one day to design! For a love story that’s maybe not super predictable, why not visit our Everything Romance page? 

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