ROMANCE

Party of Two

Berkley. (Wedding Date, Bk. 5). Jul. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780593100820. pap. $16. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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Recently relocated lawyer Olivia Monroe connects with Max Stewart Powell III over their shared love of uncomplicated desserts while she enjoys a drink at a hotel bar. They part as strangers but Olivia discovers via the nightly news that Max is the hot new senator from California. They meet again after Max is the speaker at a luncheon Olivia attends, and they start secretly dating. Olivia’s reluctance to be thrust into the spotlight as a Black woman dating a white politician and Max’s tendency to jump headfirst into any cause he believes in with little thought of the consequences lead to struggles in their budding romance, especially when Max uses a secret from Olivia’s past for political gain.
VERDICT Guillory’s latest in the “Wedding Date” series (after Royal Holiday) will tie in nicely to the 2020 political season and is sure to be on many reading lists, but overall the focus on the characters’ internal struggles, work, and food descriptions, plus the vagueness of Max’s political affiliation make for an uneven romance. Still, Olivia’s shining character will ultimately please readers who have enjoyed Guillory’s other popular works.

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