Summary (from the publisher):
Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.
Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
2020 has been the year of contemporary romance for me, which means that I finally had to pick up a Jasmine Guillory book! I went with Party of Two, the fifth book in The Wedding Date companion series. It was so unlike me to pick up a latter installment in a companion series, but I was really intrigued by the synopsis and heard rave reviews from other bloggers. I’m so glad I went with Party of Two because it is now one of my favorite contemporary romances of the year. My weeks are busy between internship, grad classes, and job duties but I still managed to read this one under 3 days. Okay, some homework and TV watching may have been set aside but it was SO worth it!
Party of Two follows Olivia, a lawyer who’s just relocated from NYC to LA to run her own law firm with her best friend, and Max, a California senator who spends his time between LA and DC. When Olivia first meets Max, she has no idea that he’s a politician, let alone one of the most eligible and attractive bachelors in DC. Olivia soon figures out who Max is and has to think about if she wants to date a politician, while Max considers what it would be like to finally have a partner. As Olivia and Max spend more time together, both have to consider what it means to put their relationship in the spotlight. I know, I know, some readers might want nothing to do with politics in their reads at that moment, but Party of Two doesn’t have political conversations every other second and it doesn’t feature an election, which was really refreshing because I feel like any contemporary book I read involving politics tends to take place during an election year.
Party of Two is told from both Olivia and Max’s perspectives, and I think I enjoyed this book so much and their relationship because I genuinely enjoyed them both as individual characters. It wasn’t a situation where I’m reading through one character’s chapter to get to the others. We really get to learn about Olivia’s background, relationships and career included. It was also interesting to see Max’s life as a senator, constantly jetting back and forth between LA and DC. Olivia is a super-driven career woman. There is a lot of conversation about how she is often perceived as a Black woman in her career and the potential criticism from the media about her interracial relationship with Max. The year or time of this novel doesn’t really matter – I do think it takes place in present day & a 2020 without a global pandemic- but there were many relevant conversations surrounding race and politics. As a senator, criminal justice reform is a big part of Max’s platform.
There was just something so genuine and sweet about Olivia and Max’s relationship. The sweetness might just be from all the desserts the two share! I actually loved the constant mention of food and Olivia and Max’s love for desserts and burgers. It actually made the novel feel more realistic, considering that a lot of dates (especially first ones) involve going out to lunch or dinner. This book seriously left me craving a good burger or slice of pie! Overall, I loved Party of Two because it delivered on its synopsis with its unique plot and had all the swoony, romantic feels I look for in my contemporary romance reads.
Have you read Party of Two? What’s your favorite book in The Wedding Date series? Share in the comments!