‘Zora Books Her Happily Ever After’ by Taj McCoy nails mature take on love triangles

My Zora Books Her Happily Ever After book review is pretty simple: It’s worth the read. It’s got some satisfying spice, hilarious supporting characters, and a metric ton of book-loving, Zorlock-ian heart. That last part will make sense later, I promise.

When I read a book by a new author, there’s a decent amount of nerves for me. I have my go-to authors, the dependable ones, the 1-click writers that have never failed me, and it’s easy to just go about my life reading their books and always feeling content. BUT, there’s a whole world of new authors to discover who I know can totally blow me out of the water, with so many different points-of-view, and this month, I took a chance on Taj McCoy by reading Zora Books Her Happily Ever After for my April book review. Let’s just say, I was not disappointed.

Zora owns a bookstore in her DC neighborhood, where she employs her best friend Emma (who also lives with her), and always has her Granny Marion on hand to help out. So, when Zora’s author crush agrees to an event at her independent bookstore, Granny has high hopes her granddaughter may finally find herself a man. What she doesn’t expect is for her to find two.  Only one of them is truly worthy of everything Zora has to offer… but which one?

As a diehard Dawson’s Creek and The Vampire Diaries fan, I’m no stranger to a love triangle situation. At first, I wondered (from the blurb) if this might not end in a “Why choose?” type of ending, but it became clear pretty quickly to me that one of the men trying to court Zora isn’t worthy of her. But reading along as Zora gives both men the opportunity to wine and dine her had me playing right along, figuring out exactly what was going on behind the scenes.

I loved that all three parties went into this dating situation with their eyes wide open. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know two people at the same time with the intention of possibly dating one of them. Sometimes pop culture gets that wrong, and makes us feel like anyone dating two people at the same time is dishonest. It definitely can be, if any of the parties misrepresents themselves, but in Zora Books Her Happily Ever After, everyone knows the score and consents to moving forward.

And we watch as Zora gets to know these two men, realizing that her first impressions may not have been accurate, but also ignoring some obvious signs that she was clearly more comfortable with one of them. I definitely had the twist in this story figured out a little early on, but I really enjoyed seeing that Zora was oblivious to her own instincts as she allowed herself to be courted. While both of these men take her out on dates, only one is looking to engage her mind instead of showing off. She hesitates to allow one of these men to take her to bed at first, but the other she seems to have no doubts about. Once I realized that Zora’s subconcious had already made its choice, it was just time to watch and see how long it would take her overanalytical brain to figure out what she instinctively already knew. Which was all kinds of fun, because I, too, can be an overthinker, and I appreciate seeing a heroine that can’t just turn that side of her off.

In order to keep from spoiling too much, I won’t comment on the male characters too much, but I can say that one of them grows surprisingly more delightful as the book goes on. I definitely knew who I was rooting for, but I also tried to stay as neutral as possible. I felt like I was joining in with Emma and Granny Marion as they supported Zora in her deliberations enthusiastically.

zora books her happily ever after book review

What I definitely didn’t expect was to fall so quickly into obsession with the supporting characters in Zora’s life. Her bestie, Emma, is the quintessential best friend. She never abandons Zora in her time of need, is always there to lend a hand (especially when spicy texting is involved), and keeps everyday life light when Zora needs it most. Zora is the yin to Emma’s yang. Emma has the unique ability to lose everything all the time, while Zora, on the other hand, is great at puzzles (like to a Sherlock Holmes degree), and has been helping Emma navigate the world since college, finding lost items along the way. They are just incredible friends who help each other get through each and every day.

And you absolutely cannot talk about supporting characters in this book without talking about Granny Marion. Quite possibly my favorite character in Zora Books Her Happily Ever After, Granny is the pushy, loving, supportive grandparent we all love to read. She wants Zora, first and foremost, to be happy, and while running the bookstore definitely is a step in the right direction, Granny worries that her beloved granddaughter is missing out on life’s most basic pleasures. My favorite thing about Granny Marion, though, is that she spends every day in Zora’s shop. Not getting paid, not working in mindless labor, but just spends her days reading in her chair, helping moms who are juggling children, reading to kids who come in regularly, and just basically being supportive by being there. There’s a statistic floating around in the world that is something like “showing up is half the job,” and Granny Marion has truly taken that to heart. She shows her support and dedication to Zora by being present and going the extra mile to make the store feel like a community center, rather than just a bookstore.

It is truly wonderful to be a person that loves their work, but, just like anything, you need balance to be a whole and fully realized person. While writing this Zora Books Her Happily Ever After book review, I realized how encouraged I was by seeing Zora’s journey to finding that balance unfold in its pages.

Zora is a fantastic bookstore owner, especially for her black community in D.C. She is constantly looking to be a force for good, supporting creatives and imaginations in any way she can. Throughout the story, we see Zora focus on supporting black business in as many aspects of her life as possible, and I loved her for that. I was moved by the sense of community and support throughout this book, as businesses and individuals from the neighborhood come out time and time again to encourage the creativity of the youth in the area, as well as helping out whenever they had a chance to give back to those who may need a hand up here and there.

I left Zora Books Her Happily Ever After with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and I truly hope you do, too.

‘Zora Books Her Happily Ever After’ hit bookstore shelves April 25, 2023.

Buy Zora Books Her Happily Ever After by Taj McCoy on Bookshop.org, Harlequin, or Amazon. You can also add it to your Goodreads list.

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