By this point in January, the shine is off the new year. Resolutions are falling by the wayside. The snow is grimy, the sky is glum, and everything is salt-encrusted. The puppy has, perhaps, chewed a hole in the elbow of your favorite sweater or the toe of your favorite socks (or both).
If you, too, are finding yourself mired in the Midwinter Mehs, might I recommend turning to a book to brighten your days — something fresh and unexpectedly delightful. Something such as Kate Clayborne’s Love Lettering, a quirky, heartfelt, wildly creative romantic comedy.
Meg Mackworth is a trendy Brooklyn calligrapher with a habit of sneaking secret messages into her projects. But when she hides the word “MISTAKE” in a client’s custom wedding program, the ex-groom sees it – and a year after the wedding-that-wasn’t, returns to confront Meg, asking how she knew his relationship was doomed.
Reid Sutherland, the now-single formervgroom, is a numbers-obsessed workaholic who hates New York. As an apology (and to overcome her crippling artist’s block) Meg invites Reid to join her on walking adventures around NYC, looking for inspiration. He grudgingly accepts, and their walks lead to an unexpected friendship – and their friendship, less unexpectedly for the reader, turns to romance.
Just as with Meg and Reid’s trips, however, Love Lettering is less about the destination and more about the journey. Dry, funny, guarded Meg and brilliant, prickly, thoughtful Reid could have easily become caricatures – the twee Brooklyn hipster artist and the Manhattan finance whiz — but Kate Clayborn makes them feel real, complicated, and compelling, especially as they both struggle with loneliness and estrangement. The secondary characters are fully-realized people as well, and make the story even richer, and New York itself is so thoughtfully, vividly rendered that it becomes a character itself.
Best of all, Clayborn’s writing sparkles – it’s effervescent, witty, and warm without ever tipping into saccharine. The way Meg views the world, especially how fonts and lettering “speak” to her, is deftly incorporated into the story and the physical pages, giving us even more of an insight into an already-appealing character. Love Lettering is a charming, colorful story about friendship, creativity, and the importance of connection – the perfect antidote to the Midwinter Mehs.