ARC Review: “Meet Me in the Margins,” by Melissa Ferguson

Happy March, all! March is not what I would call my favorite month – too many nuances to Northeast weather – but I am excited to start a new month of reading and was even more excited to receive Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson as a late ARC (thank you, Netgalley and Thomas Nelson!) While I was not *quite* the right audience for this, I still was delighted to read!


From the Publisher:

You’ve Got Mail meets The Proposal—this romance is one for the books.

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 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.


What I Enjoyed:

  • The Premise. On paper (pun intended), Meet Me in the Margins is a book lovers’ dream for a romance premise. Savannah is an editor giving us an insider’s look into the publishing industry and a writer who has written a promising romance novel. An anonymous colleague begins giving Savannah editing tips to her manuscript in a secret room that only they know about. In those edits, love blossoms. The premise and the cute notes we are privy to are what kept my attention throughout. Is there anything cuter than romance in the pages?
  • William Pennington. I love tall dark and brooding with a hint of humor and sharp wit and good judge of character. William Pennington is the ideal for these types of romances. He sees through the BS, he is always there for our protagonist, and he is not what she expected.
  • The Book Nook. I would be remiss to not bring up the fact that there is an ARC room that leads to paradise… I mean, the Book Nook. Books, candles, comfy seats, great wall hangings – I wanted to find this room and never leave. Who wouldn’t fall in love here?

What Didn’t Work for Me:

  • The Squeaky Clean Romance. This one is on me, folks. I didn’t get the memo that this is was part of the Christian lit publisher. There was nothing overtly religious about Meet Me in the Margins, but it was completely clean: No cursing, no sex (two kisses throughout), and Savannah doesn’t even like physical intimacy before meeting William. While I understand and appreciate that cursing and sex shouldn’t be needed, their absence was keen here, especially in the harsh world of publishing.
  • Savannah’s Family (and a rant on body dysmorphia). I have seen some awful literary families (hello Dursleys), but the Cades may take the cake on toxic “positivity.” These families are everything I hate: the New Years Day marathon runners, the 3 month blood donors, charity starters, and “no tears here” types. What kind of parents would make one daughter accept their younger sister stealing their boyfriend of eight years? What kind of family creates such neuroses in said daughters that a size four is “large” and if you haven’t started a successful non-profit before 30 you’ve failed in life? I can’t tell if I was more made that they are caricatures of an all-American capitalistic family, or the fact that I have met families exactly like this. The Cades ruined this book for me.
  • The Pace. Meet Me in the Margins frankly dragged a bit. I am not sure if it is because it is so clean, or the tension wasn’t built up well enough, or if Savannah’s voice just wasn’t strong enough to carry in the first person. But for a novel about the editing business, this book could have used some editing down.

Conclusion:

I hate giving negative reviews for books that I screwed up in requesting. Meet Me in the Margins had such a great premise for me: a romance that takes place in revisions of a book, a heroine who works in the publishing industry, a fun Nashville backdrop. However, the lack of steam combined with truly appalling side characters had this falling flat for me. I gave this three waves, but would highly recommend to other readers who love books about books and don’t mind (or prefer) clean romances. Perfect light reading for a day at the beach. Order your copy here (and who doesn’t love this cover?!)

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