THE WEDDING PARTY
Written by: Jasmine Guillory
Read by: Janina Edwards
9 Hours and 16 Minutes
Published by: PRHA | Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Romance – Multicultural & Interracial
Release Date: July 16, 2019
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Maddie and Theo have two things in common:
1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each other
After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?
But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.
It is nearly impossible to understand the kind of pressure and biases people of color experience, and it doesn’t go away when they enter a professional career position. I like to think that in my life I am working towards this understanding. And, although as a woman of a certain age, I grew up with some gender-based bias I know that as a white woman that bias was less than racial bias. It is very helpful to me to read books featuring what the publisher labels “Fiction – Romance – Multicultural & Interracial.” I needed to be reminded that people of color feel they have to be more — more perfect, more dedicated, more educated, put in more hours. I kept thinking of the saying about Ginger Rogers, a dancing film star from the last century, usually partnered with Fred Astaire, : she had to do everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in heels.
It helps that this book is written by, and narrated by, women of color; if written and narrated by someone without the experience It may not have been as effective. I don’t think giving me a life lesson is the author’s or narrator’s job, nor is it the point of the book, but it’s a good side benefit.
Guillory’s writing is bright, conversational, succinct, with well-defined characters. This one had some interesting twists, and Theo’s sense of having to be so perfect everyday was a bit trying. Edward’s style of narrating is halfway between acting and reading-out-loud.
I have now gone through the other two books in “The Wedding Date” series: The Wedding Date and The Proposal, and I enjoyed them. In this book I found Maddie to be a little caustic, judgemental, unyielding and quick to anger. Even when she cares abut someone it feels as if she is pissed-off. Theo is a great guy, very particular, and in some ways he is a little feminine. He reminded me of Frankie’s adopted son, Nwabudike Bergstein played by the delightful Baron Vaughn. It may be part of the reality that there are not enough roles for women of color, that I don’t have a female character of color to which I can relate Maddie.
The transition from Maddie hating Theo and Theo sorry they got off on the wrong foot, to sexy times, to love felt pretty natural. Mddie’s insistence that this is just sex and not long-term makes them keep the relationship secret and sneaking around adds a frisson of excitement that brings them closer.
I enjoyed the series and this book. While it has been given the multicultural/interracial label it is not a book limited to people of color and it’s not about race in that no one faces overtly race-based danger and/or challenges. It has some humor, great friends, a little scary bit, some steam and some chemistry and is a feel good series. I am looking forward to the October release of Royal Holiday featuring Maddie’s mother.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal and a “rising star in the romance genre” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a dazzling new novel about a spontaneous holiday vacation that turns into an unforgettable romance.
Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.
Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.
Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they? https://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/595120/royal-holiday/