Book Review: Meet Me in the Margins (ARC)

Expected publication: February 15th 2022

Author: Melissa Ferguson

Savannah Cade is a low-level editor at Pennington Publishing, a prestigious publisher producing only the highest of highbrow titles. And while editing the latest edition of The Anthology of Medieval Didactic Poetry may be her day job, she has two secrets she’s hiding.

One: She’s writing a romance novel.

Two: She’s discovered the Book Nook—a secret room in the publishing house where she finds inspiration for her “lowbrow” hobby.

After leaving her manuscript behind one afternoon, she returns to the nook only to discover someone has written notes in the margins. Savannah’s first response to the criticism is defensive, but events transpire that force her to admit that she needs the help of this shadowy editor after all. As the notes take a turn for the romantic, and as Savannah’s madcap life gets more complicated than ever, she uses the process of elimination to identify her mysterious editor—only to discover that what she truly wants and what she should want just might not be the same. Melissa Ferguson’s latest—a love letter to books, readers, and romance—will leave fans laughing out loud and swooning in the same breath.

Meet Me in the Margins follows assistant acquisitions editor and aspiring author, Savannah Cade, who works for Pennington Publishing in Nashville. The story begins with Savannah communicating with Claire Donovan, the chief editor for romance novels at Baird Books Publishing. The two of them are discussing getting Savannah’s manuscript to Claire for her to review. Before even beginning the actual story, I loved that the setting was not only at a smaller publishing house but that it was not located in Los Angeles or New York, which is where books about making books are usually set. This story also has the added element of the main character working with novels on both sides as she edits the works of others while also trying to get her published. While at a meeting, Savannah’s new boss is announced to be the owner’s son, William Pennington, who is now the VP and publisher of the Pennington Pen division after parting ways with his previous job at Sterling House in New York.

After some financial hardships, Savannah moved in with her younger sister, Olivia. Not only is Olivia a perfectionist and over-the-top personality for being the best, but she is also engaged to Savannah’s ex-boyfriend, Ferris, who Savannah dated for eight years. When Ferris was helping Savannah move into Olivia’s apartment a year ago, the two of them connected and became engaged a few months later. As the two plans on getting married soon, Savannah’s parents tell her to get over the situation and move on as this is what their family does. The entire situation was extremely toxic as both Ferris and Olivia are terrible people to do that to Savannah. While she was very mature about it, the situation never sat right and I started skimming any sentences with either of them.  Olivia is also running a program called the Steps-4-Life Step-a-thon and she refused to understand that situations happen where Savannah could not meet her daily quota.

When Savannah initially sends the draft of her manuscript to Claire, she initially rejects it. The two of them strike a deal that Savannah will need to submit a new draft in 44 days, so Claire is able to potentially publish it before she retires. As Pennington is about other types of novels, Savannah must hide the fact that she is writing a romance story. She hides her manuscript in a hidden room behind a metal cabinet of the ARC room and is shocked to find notes written by a secret person. The ARC room was the thing of dreams for an avid reader, like me, where I would be beyond excited to be in one. Through the story, the trials and tribulations of the many obstacles authors go through to get a book published is explored.

Overall, I loved the slow burn build-up between Will and Savannah. Their interactions were greatly enjoyable and I love the two of them getting to know each other. Savannah was a very fun and enjoyable protagonist as she was trying her best with the cards that she was dealt. While I personally disconnected from her relationship with her family as I would not forgive and move on as quickly, I am sure there are other readers that will not mind this element as much. This novel was a fun and easy read and I greatly enjoyed it and will read more from the author.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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