Author picture

Annabel Monaghan

Author of Nora Goes Off Script

9+ Works 790 Members 59 Reviews 1 Favorited


Works by Annabel Monaghan

Associated Works


2013 (3) 2014 (3) 2022 (11) 2023 (8) 21st century (4) actors (6) adventure (3) American (4) audio (6) audiobook (3) beach read (3) chick lit (6) contemporary (5) contemporary romance (5) currently-reading (5) divorce (6) ebook (10) family (7) favorites (5) FBI (5) fiction (45) humor (3) kidnapping (4) library (3) math (8) movie stars (3) mystery (4) own (3) read (5) relationships (3) romance (51) spy (6) teen (9) terrorism (5) thriller (5) to-read (77) women's fiction (3) writers (3) YA (12) young adult (12)

Common Knowledge

There is no Common Knowledge data for this author yet. You can help.



Fun rom-com with a bit of an unpredictable second half.
bookwyrmm | 29 other reviews | Feb 26, 2024 |
Enjoyable, but maybe I would have preferred the real book to the audio version. Sam, the main character comes off extra whiny via audio. Slightly predictable, but still fun. I’ll keep reading Annabel Monaghan, but I enjoyed “Nora Goes Off Script” better than this one.
mrsgrits | 12 other reviews | Feb 26, 2024 |
{stand-alone; romance, family, non-steamy} (2022)

(read by Hillary Huber)

Nora is a script writer for a romance channel living in the small town of Laurel Ridge in upstate New York and she produces scripts which all have the same formula. Her husband, Ben, recently left her and their two children and mostly what Nora felt was relief. Relief that he left her the kids and the house (which she loves but he didn't), relief that he would no longer be blowing their meagre savings on unnecessary extravagances (usually for himself) or belittling her work, in spite of the fact that she was the only one earning a steady income. I love the way Monaghan describes the house and its surroundings.
This house is a disaster, sure. But I fell in love with it when I first looked down the long windy path of the driveway. The magnolia trees that line either side touch in the middle, so that now, in April, you drive through a tunnel of pink flowers. When you emerge onto the main road it feels like you've been transported from one world to another, like a bride leaving the church. It feels like a treat going out for milk, and it feels like a treat coming home.
The house was built by a British doctor named George Faircloth who lived in Manhattan and came upstate to Laurel Ridge in the summer, which explains the complete lack of winterization. It was built to be enjoyed on a seventy-eight-degree day and primarily from the outside. I imagine his landscaping this property like a maestro, arranging the magnolias and the forsythia beneath them to announce the beginning of spring. After a long gray winter, these first pink and yellow blooms shout, "Something's happening!" By May they'll have gone green with the rest of the yard, a quiet before the peonies and hydrangea bloom.
Somehow, though, her feelings about her husband worked their way out in a script that her agent got excited about and sold to Hollywood to make a film for the big screen rather than the romance channel to make a TV movie. The story opens at sunrise at Nora's home on the day that the film company, with the two current hottest movie stars - Leo Vance and Naomi Sanchez - are coming to start filming in the tea house on her back lawn.
The first morning we woke up here, I got up at first light because we didn't have any curtains yet. I took my coffee to the front porch, and the sunrise was the surprise of my life. I'd never seen the house at six A.M. I didn't even know we were facing east. It was like a gift with purchase, a reward for loving this broken place.
I stand on the porch now, taking it in before the movie crew arrives. Pink ribbons, then orange creep up behind the wide-armed oak tree at the end of my lawn. The sun rises behind it differently every day. Some days it's a solid bar of sherbet that rolls up like movie credits and fills the sky. Some days the light dapples through the leaves in a muted gray. The oak won't have leaves for a few weeks, just tiny yellow and white blooms pollinating one another and promising a lawn full of acorns. My lawn is its best self in April, particularly in the morning when it's dew-kissed and catching the light. I don't know the science behind all of it, but I know the rhythm of this property like I know my own body. The sun will rise here every single day.
After filming wraps, and Nora can have her tea house and lawn back, Leo stays on longer ... and longer as he finds this small town the perfect place to detox from his dehumanised life. Nora takes him shopping to her discount grocery store, where he is blown away by the simplicity and by being able to buy his own produce rather than someone delegated to do his shopping for him. And, of course, Nora and Leo (you know the type - hot, sexy, six foot two, smoulders at you) start to fall for each other.

Meanwhile, Nora is juggling being a mum to 8 year old Bernadette and 10 year old Arthur (who's getting to the age where kids are too cool to know you). Bernie is easy going but Arthur (who was never sporty enough for his dad) wants to try out for the school play. Despite telling him not to get into acting, Leo agrees to help him learn lines - and the kids start to bond with him, as he does with them. Of course, nothing perfect lasts in the middle of romance novels and things fall apart. How will Nora and the kids and Leo find their happily ever after - and will it be the one that they thought that they were heading for?

So this was mostly the usual romance formula but it had two plus points for me: 1- no steam and 2- believable kids. I really liked it. There were no 'bad guys' except for the big misunderstanding - which, in itself, was plausible - (and the 'why didn't they communicate?') but everyone around them was rooting for them - or at least for Nora, since it was narrated in first person from her point of view. It was also nice meeting both Nora and Leo's families and good that her sister, Penny, was an important part of her support system.

I liked the narration by Hillary Huber too; she does a good job of creating different voices, especially of the kids (though I was a bit startled initially when everyone spoke with an American accent, because they wouldn't have sounded like that in my head if I'd been reading it myself). This was a feel-good story. I could read more by this author.

(January 2024)
3.75 stars
… (more)
humouress | 29 other reviews | Feb 13, 2024 |
"Turn carefree into careful; bandage up your heart and double check the adhesive"

Inside of me, there are two Sams. There is the Sam who thinks it's nonsense to only need a thread of common experiences and youth love to pick up right where you left off and who would think this reads as a stuck-in-the-past-obsession.

"It's strange to think something had disintegrated to find out it has not"

There's another Sam though, and she's the one who dominates my feelings about this book. It's the Sam who definitely had a Wyatt (who scoffed say the first line of an author's note, cause baby even if Wyatt ain't real, he's real or you could not have committed to the way you wrote the all out get each other, first love never ever gonna be just friends or over you)

The first Sam would say I didn't have trouble with the way this was executed and Annabel Monaghan is an author who will rise to the occasion - because this is all true even if that brain-driven Sam is like UGH

BUT the second Sam read this and I love them and I love Wyatt and I'm obsessed with their complete feeling of being in sync and the fact that they have no boundaries at all. And I really enjoyed the way she executed this even with Jack which is not normal for me, I think it's hilarious he was a dermatologist...because beach.

Which Sam should you listen to? I don't know, honestly. Both versions have a great cast and believe in choosing- and that's one thing this book did exactly right.

"And I like this. I like knowing that it wasn't some act of fate or the draw of a washed-up tennis player that brought Wyatt back here to me. He chose me and got on a plane."
… (more)
samnreader | 12 other reviews | Jan 28, 2024 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by

Charts & Graphs