You know how I’ve been complaining that I want more diversity in my romance? Well listen, I’m going to try to stop complaining and start reading the good stuff. And (aside from Alisha Rai, whom I also love and will continue to read voraciously) I knew the place to start was with Jasmine Guillory. I figure I can dip into the fluffy contemporary romances with her and then move on to some other authors who have been writing diversely for years (paging Alyssa Cole and Beverly Jenkins, among others). So I finally did it – I picked up The Wedding Date. And OH MY GOD why did I wait so long???
In The Wedding Date, Drew Nichols and Alexa Monroe get stuck in an elevator at a swanky hotel in San Francisco by chance. Drew is in town from LA for his med school friend’s wedding… who also happens to be marrying his ex-girlfriend, and Alexa came over from Berkeley to celebrate her sister’s promotion to partner at a law firm. But the power goes out, and Drew and Alexa are trapped together in this elevator. They’re immediately attracted to each other, which seems crazy. But then Drew starts telling Alexa the details of the wedding, and she finds him charming… and maybe a little desperate to not face the wedding by himself. Once they’re out of the elevator, he spontaneously asks her to be his date to the wedding, and she accepts.
Which turns into her pretending to be his fake girlfriend. Which leads to some very real attraction and a steamy night, post wedding reception. And then, they part ways, as planned.
Except neither of them can stop thinking about the other. For a woman who is married to her job and a man who swears he hasn’t had a girlfriend since his ex who just got married… that makes things a little… complicated.
3 Things I Loved
- Alexa. Oh man, Alexa is just the protagonist I wanted and needed, after reading a LOT of romance in the past couple of months. (Not that I’m complaining.) She’s shy and unsure of herself romantically, but she kicks ass at her job. She is self-conscious of her body, but it doesn’t bleed into her professional life. She’s a real person, someone I’d want to be friends with. More on that in a minute.
- Drew. Now, spoiler alert – I read The Proposal before I read The Wedding Date, so I already knew and loved Drew as a side character before starting this book. So I went into it expecting a sexy doctor with a tight network of friends who had a decent sense of humor. What I didn’t expect was that he’s a reformed playboy who would have gotten eaten alive at this wedding without Alexa there, and I WAS HERE FOR IT. I loved him from the very first elevator scene.
- Real people with real jobs! So, listen! I loved Alisha Rai’s latest [read my review of The Right Swipe here!], but they weren’t real people with real jobs to me. A CEO of a dating app? A former NFL star? Not super relatable, honestly. But a lawyer who decided to become chief of staff for the local mayor? A pediatric surgeon? Still not jobs I have, but relatable! Jobs that they worked really hard for and earned. And that made me love them all the more.
Omg, come on. There’s hardly anything here. I loved every piece of this book, but I ESPECIALLY loved how directly race is addressed. Before walking into the rehearsal dinner, Alexa asks Drew if she’s going to be the only black person there, and he has to think about it and is distinctly uncomfortable. At the wedding, another groomsman is being racist and gross, and WE DEAL WITH IT ON THE PAGE. It was refreshing and real. This is why we NEED #ownvoices. I could write a black character, but I wouldn’t know those nuances. But now that I’ve read them… OF COURSE. Of course that’s something people deal with on a daily basis. Of course.
I will say, though – it seems like pretty much everything in the book is heteronormative, which is an easy trap to fall into when writing about weddings. The racial diversity mostly makes up for it, but that piece of real life could be added to make a more complete world, you know?
Oh, and a VERY SMALL aside – I didn’t love the “mean girl” aspect of the bridesmaids at the wedding. I understand their quibbles with Drew, truly – he did Molly wrong, back in the day. But I just don’t love the “girls are mean to other girls over a man” thing that was happening there.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
This was one of the most fun romances I’ve read in a long time. And it’s not overly sexy (which I also love, but the details aren’t always needed on the page to know what’s happening), making it more accessible to people who may not always read romance. It’s truly a gem of a book! Therefore, I’m giving The Wedding Date a BLUE rating. SO GOOD.