While thirty-nine year old Molly Halberg is still hoping for all of her dreams to come true, she is willing to settle for "close-enough" in some cases. As a divorced woman she thinks that the relationship she has with her boyfriend, Russell, is adequate. They have settled into a comfortable relationship that involves dinner in front of the television and sleep masks at each others places. He doesn't cheat on her like her ex-husband, so there is that. Molly loves being a writer for an online magazine, but she would love to have her own column. She keeps hoping that with every story about dildos and speed-dating she gets closer to getting that column. When her boss assigns her to do a "Nora Ephron" type of story on romance in New York City, Molly is sure that she is about to get her break. If Molly knows anything it is Nora Ephron movies. As she works on her piece she is forced to examine her relationship with Russell, especially when she comes across an ornery mystery author. Is "adequate" better than nothing when it comes to career and romance? Or is Molly going to give up everything to go after what she really wants - happiness?
Any woman over the age of thirty is intimately aware with Nora Ephron and her movies. We all know that Sleepless in Seattle is an homage to An Affair to Remember and You've Got Mail is an homage to The Shop Around the Corner. Well, What Nora Knew is a beautiful homage to Nora Ephron. Her movies shaped the way an entire generation of women look at love and relationships and Molly Halberg is the perfect heroine to illustrate that "adequate" is not good enough. Many times Molly referred to the characters played by Bill Pullman and Greg Kinnear to Russell. And once she started making those comparisons it snowballed into a realization that their relationship had lost it's spark long ago. While What Nora Knew was a bit predictable, I was more than willing to put up with it for all of the familiar scenes revisited and the warm memories that came from remembering three of my favorite movies.
Bottom line, What Nora Knew is a feel-good kind of book. I couldn't stop smiling the whole time I was reading this book. Not because it was hysterical, but because it made my heart happy. If you know Kathleen Kelly's online handle or know where Annie hid to listen to the radio show, then you have got to read this book. Consider this recommendation my gift to you.