Book Reviews

Review: The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

The Roughest Draft is a character fueled romance about tension and love. It is a fascinating examination of feelings we deny and ones we cannot let go of. This is perfect for all fans of romance reads with in depth and detailed character work. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten books topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven’t spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.

Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they’re forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they’d do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.

While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

This dual perspective romance delivers second chances, feelings we can’t let go of, and plenty of tension. Told with plenty of flashbacks, The Roughest Draft quickly establishes tension by forcing readers to speculate about what happened. What drove Katrina and Nathan apart? While that mystery hooks us, what ends up keeping us reading are the characters. Katrina and Nathan unfold on the pages leaving their vulnerabilities, and feelings, clear to us.

And that’s where they stay. Because what becomes abundantly clear is that the line between fiction and reality is muddied. As a writer, I can only imagine how difficult that line can be. Already in the stories we create, so much of us bleeds through. Our own dreams and demons. Loves and forgotten paths. So what happens when two people can write characters who can convey feelings they cannot? The Roughest Draft continues this tension throughout the whole book asking us, and them, if they can cross that hurdle.

The Roughest Draft is all about that line between fiction and reality. The simmering feelings which won’t so easily be forgotten. All these past moments, these past versions of ourselves, that we can pick up where we left off. But ones that feel almost like they fit, except some tag keeps itching our skin. It’s a story about writing our lives, loves, and hurts into the stories we tell to others and ourselves. If you love character driven, tension that sizzles, and will-they-won’t-they then The Roughest Draft is for you.

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Find The Roughest Draft on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Who is your favorite co-author writing duo?

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