Reviewed by Claire LeNoir on Amazon, July 8, 2019: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Love+Is+the+Punch+Line&qid=1567360042&s=books&sr=1-1
A different kind of romance
July 8, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
“Love is the Punch Line” is a well-crafted story, at times charming and at time exasperating (in a good way) novel about romance between two mismatched people, Josh and Holly. Both see themselves through self-critical eyes and fear they are over the hill and undesirable. It’s a refreshing change from romances between young and perfect people, and I enjoyed reading it, though I often found myself wanting to shake Josh, the lead male character (who seems to be based upon a Rodney Dangerfield type of stand-up comic). Just when I want to wash my hands of Josh, he becomes so vulnerable and soft-hearted that I understand why someone–like Holly, the leading lady–could actually love him.
There’s a heartwarming segment where one of his fellow stand-up comics dies, and Josh struggles with his grief and confronts his own failings. It’s revealing of Josh’s character, and adds a poignant twist to the story, though it is not a main plot line.
Josh often does his best to ruin their relationship with his comedic digs at Holly, even after he realizes she is a sensitive person and easily wounded. His troubled history with women seems to drive him to test–or destroy–the relationship. Unlike the typical genre romance male lead, he is often his own worst enemy and his insecurities often seem insurmountable.
Unlike the traditional romance, it’s never really clear if this couple will have their “happy ever after.” And that adds to the appeal of this love story because it is not formulaic and there is a “what will happen next” tension that carries through the story. The author does a great job of taking on the romance genre and creating something fresh and intriguing out of it. In other words, romance genre readers will still like it, but non-romance genre readers will also find much to enjoy in the book. Which is to say, in many ways, it transcends genre boundaries.
Oh, and yes–the screen play Josh writes is a nicely played as a strong thread in the story. Will it ever be made into a movie? Will it refresh his lagging career? Is Holly’s belief in the screen play enough to carry them through the challenges? Read it and see!
Complex, original within the romance genre, and entertaining.