Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Book Review: "The Wedding Date" by Jasmine Guillory

I'm definitely a big romantic sap, so I guess I'm surprised it's taken me this long to get hooked on the romance genre. I certainly believe in true love, in destiny, but I also look for bright spots in a world that is so angry, so upsetting, so perplexing, so it's no wonder these books have been appealing to me. Beyond that, however, the books I have read over the last year have been well-written, enjoyable, fun, sexy, and utterly compelling, so who could ask for anything more?

I first heard of Jasmine Guillory's The Wedding Date when I saw that Roxane Gay said it was one of the best books she's read in a while. Given that I like the way Gay writes, if she recommends something, I didn't think I should pass it up. And she didn't steer me wrong!

Drew is a pediatrician from LA, forced not only to attend the wedding of an ex-girlfriend, but to serve as a groomsman as well. And to make matters worse, his "plus-one" canceled the night before. The thought of showing up without a date, dealing with the stares and the probing questions of everyone in the wedding party makes him sick. But he figures he'll just hook up with one of the drunk bridesmaids and the weekend will be over.

But on his way up to his hotel room in San Francisco, the elevator gets stuck. He's not alone, however; his fellow passenger is Alexa Monroe—curvy, vivacious, chief of staff for the mayor of Berkeley. Alexa doesn't normally fall for random white guys in elevators, but something about Drew (other than his sexy good looks) makes her agree to be his date for the wedding by the time the elevator starts up again. She'll break out of her work-only funk, he'll have a beautiful woman on his arm pretending to be his girlfriend—it will be fun, right? And after the weekend, he'll head back to LA and that will be that.

Of course, Alexa and Drew have more fun than they even imagined...and it lasts all weekend long. Drew has already told Alexa he "doesn't do girlfriends," so she's not expecting much after he returns home to LA. But they cannot stop thinking about each other. Both want nothing more than to be together, even as both of their jobs get crazy. They start trading visits, and can't keep their hands off each other, and they just enjoy the simple pleasures of being together.

The more this continues, the deeper Alexa's feelings develop for Drew. But she doesn't expect him to feel the same way, although she's afraid to ask him how he feels, since she doesn't think she wants to know the truth. Drew realizes he's never felt this way about anyone before, but he knows once they get more involved, Alexa will hate him, just like all his other exes have. So why take the chance of ruining it?

If by reading this plot summary you think you can guess how the rest of the book will unfold, you're probably right. But the book's predictability doesn't detract from its appeal at all—you can't stop reading because you want to know what will happen, you want to shake Drew and Alexa for not being honest and telling each other how they feel, and you worry some ridiculous artificial barricade will keep them from being happy.

This is a lighthearted, sexy, fun romp of a book, but it doesn't shy away from tackling issues like race, privilege, and self-confidence as well. Guillory hooked me from the meet-cute in the first few pages all the way to the very end. I rooted for these characters, hoped they wouldn't do anything too stupid in an effort to protect themselves, and longed for a happy ending, all the while just tearing through the book.

If you find enjoyment in stories like these, if you're a romantic like me, consider The Wedding Date. I'll definitely be picking up Guillory's newest book (The Proposal) very soon.

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