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Review: Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

Title: Party of Two

Author: Jasmine Guillory
Year published: 2020
Category: Adult fiction (romance)
Pages: 352 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (CA, Washington DC)

SummaryDating 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, as 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?

Review: I really enjoy Guillory's romance novels. This one isn't my favorite of hers, but I liked it and it was a perfect vacation read.

I like that both characters are smart and independently strong but also rely on each other (isn't that how we want it to be?). They have careers that are fulfilling, families they get along with, and close friends who give good advice. 

This novel also uses Max's job as a Senator and Olivia's passion for community involvement to highlight social issues such as food pantries, youth incarceration (school to prison pipeline), and racism/mysoginy in the workplace. It is done as part of the story so doesn't feel preachy.

The thing I didn't like is that Olivia is the one who is unsure of herself, wary of being in a relationship, and uncomfortable with press/media coverage. While building a strong independent woman, Guillory also made her timid and unsure, which I think wasn't necessary. Yes, it's part of the plot, but is it always the woman?

Challenges for which this counts: none

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