As Seen on TV
by Meredith Schorr
Release Date: June 7, 2022
Reviewed by PJ
Emerging journalist Adina Gellar is done with dating in New York City. If she’s learned anything from made-for-TV romance movies, it’s that she’ll find love in a small town—the kind with harvest festivals, delightful but quirky characters, and scores of delectable single dudes. So when a big-city real estate magnate targets tiny Pleasant Hollow for development, Adi knows she’s found the perfect story—one that will earn her a position at a coveted online magazine, so she can finally start adulting for real . . . and maybe even find her dream man in the process.
Only Pleasant Hollow isn’t exactly “pleasant.” There’s no charming bakery, no quaint seasonal festivals, and the residents are more ambivalent than welcoming. The only upside is Finn Adams, who’s more mouthwatering than the homemade cherry pie Adi can’t seem to find—even if he does work for the company she’d hoped to bring down. Suddenly Adi has to wonder if maybe TV got it all wrong after all. But will following her heart mean losing her chance to break into the big time?
As a self-admitted Hallmark movie addict (and fan of Gilmore Girls), this book immediately piqued my interest. It's like visiting a quintessential Hallmark small town with "big business" pitted against the good-hearted citizens and a newly-arrived, big-city journalist leading the charge to save their town...only in an alternate universe where everything is turned upside down and nobody acts according to Hallmark "rules" and the journalist is the one in danger of being run out of town. And then there's the cute guy who becomes a good friend, with steamy attraction, and potential for more. And did I mention he also works for that big business? So many fun tropes and quirky plot flips to play with!
I chuckled plenty while reading this story but you should know that although it's a rom-com, and there are many amusing scenes, it's not all laughter and light. There are some deeply traumatic issues dealt with in the book and some very emotional scenes. Also, some of the humor is a bit on the caustic side and some of Adi's behavior in the first half of the book leaves ethics hanging on the edge. However, nothing went far enough to turn me off and the story kept my interest intact throughout.
The characters are very well developed, multi-layered, flawed, and interesting. I was invested in their happiness and enjoyed their evolution, especially Adi's. Her character had some significant growing to do and Schorr guided her through it with impressive skill. Without going into details (spoilers), I'll just say that her character encounters more than a few potholes, and some significant self-reflection, on the path to her long-wished-for happy ending and, never fear, she does achieve it in the end. Finn also has some growing to do and a closely held secret that impacts his life and any relationships he attempts to form, but I liked him and rooted for him. Content note: there is a confrontation scene in this story involving a disruptive person in Finn's life that may be difficult for some readers.
Over all, this was a book I enjoyed reading and characters I became invested in, with a heart-tugging Gilmore Girls vibe, and a quirky homage to those feel-good movies I rarely miss. It's also a reminder that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence and that sometimes the happiness you're looking for just might be in your own back yard.
If you could spend a week in a Hallmark town, who would you choose to be? The plucky heroine? Wise, advice-dispensing senior citizen? Or, maybe, you'd like the chance to play the role of devious, money-grubbing villain. Wouldn't that be fun!
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