Saturday, July 10, 2021
Book Review: "While We Were Dating" by Jasmine Guillory
Ben (whose brother Theo was a main character in The Wedding Party) is an ambitious ad executive. When he gets to present his firm’s idea for a major ad campaign featuring famous actress Anna Gardiner, he’s excited to get his break, especially when Anna shows up at the pitch meeting. (And it doesn’t hurt that Anna is beautiful, too.)
After one Oscar nomination, Anna is ready for the next step in her career. She’s hoping this ad campaign helps put her in the public eye at the right time. She’s impressed with Ben—he’s smart, kind, funny, and sexy as hell—and it’s great to have a Black man in charge. The two build up a flirtatious relationship but both know moving beyond that would be disastrous.
When an emergency occurs in Anna’s family, Ben comes to her rescue, and the two start to let their guard down with one another. Both reveal secrets about themselves, and that vulnerability leads to passion and intimacy, even though they know it must be fleeting.
But when it’s suggested that a relationship (even a fake one) might help keep Anna in the public eye at the time she’s being considered for her dream role, Ben agrees to play along. Making it look like he has feelings for her is easy. Keeping it casual? Not so much.
Of course, this is a rom-com, so you know where things are headed. But along the way we get some frank discussions about anxiety and mental health, family loyalty, and the pressures of fame. As always, Guillory’s writing is so charming, accessible and appealing, and she gives you characters to root for. (Plus, I love the interconnectedness of her books.)
NetGalley and Berkley provided me with a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!
While We Were Dating publishes 7/13.
Labels: actors, ambition, anxiety, book reviews, celebrities, dating, family, fiction, friendship, love, mental health, relationships, rom-com, romance, secrets, work
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