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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Terrance Layhew’s Reason and Romance is a thrilling romantic ride in the world of men and women of letters. Do you remember when the New York Times best-selling novels were by Faulkner, Mailer, Updike, or Cheever? Have you ever wondered if your discriminating taste in literature isn’t helping you find a soul mate? Well, here’s the story for you. Esteemed author George Austen believes that romance is a worthless genre, but he enters this territory after a rival author challenges him to write one to see if it is truly worthless, as he claims. With research as part of his writing process, George is about to discover many things about the nature of love, where he gets to re-assess his own past, and that his bias toward the power of reason is a tool to insulate himself from heartaches.
The first thing that popped into my mind after reading this novel is Woody Allen stating that intellectuals are like the mafia—they only kill their own. Well, George Austen tries killing a rival author, but it appears he is the one who gets figuratively killed—to the point that he waxes poetic as the absence of the woman who serves as his muse drags him to Hades’ doorstep. Terrance Layhew doesn’t stop at romance. His story is well-modulated to draw you deeper into George’s writing process and what he learns at the end. Along the way, the novel provides an unusually intelligent discussion of books and the craft of writing, and it also throws in the illustration of pride as a motivator in accepting a challenge and the need to swallow it when required. Reason and Romance is a must-read romantic comedy tale that handles the most delicate and subtle things about love and the writing life.