REVIEW x 2: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in this fun and flirty debut novel.
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…
They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…
Dear Ms. Guillory,
I picked up this arc from netgalley after one of the publicists emailed me about it. It sounded like a cute literary rom-com and the recommendation was strong. I liked a lot of it but a lot of it seemed like a loop tape.
The meet-cute is darling and I can see why Drew and Alexa are attracted to each other. Drew really sells his reasons why this is going to be such a bad wedding experience for him – though he’s maybe not totally truthful about his past relationship with the bride – and has Alexa laughing and finally sharing her cheese and crackers. Then he goes for it when he impulsively asks her to save his ass and be his date. Alexa’s BFF Maddie is always telling her to not overthink things so Alexa just as impulsively says yes.
Scene two is Alexa at work and dealing with her body issues. Though she’s decisive and focused at work, what woman is totally at peace with her body and looks? Not me. When the wedding date arrives, Alexa’s work in city politics stands her in good stead and she effortlessly deals with Drew’s touchy relationships with other wedding guests as well as not being quite sure just where she and Drew stand. The night and next day are spectacular though and they begin their long distance relationship.
Drew is a busy pediatric surgeon – I’m never clear if he’s still in training or in a fellowship or what – and Alexa works hard as the mayor’s chief of staff. I enjoyed seeing them at their jobs. Drew does do a Holy Heck HIPPA violation though. Both have good friends who are there for them and who are quick to bust their chops over how Drew and Alexa are messing up their relationship.
Drew and Alexa fly back and forth up and down the length of the state of California racking up frequent flyer miles and hot sex though with lots of time for them to misinterpret each other’s actions, texts and conversations. Toss in an occasional overreaction followed by some brooding, angst and friendly friend intervention. The second half of the book felt like I was reading the same scene two or three times before anything new would happen.
There were issues that were briefly brought up but I didn’t feel got dealt with enough. Alexa is a curvy woman and worries about how she looks beside all the tall, willowy blonds in Drew’s life. But she and Drew never talk about this and it then disappears as a problem for a while. I guess Drew being hot for sex all the time shows what he thinks of her figure?
Unfortunately I didn’t think the multicultural aspect of the plot was fleshed out any more. Alexa is the subject of some crude/ignorant comments by white men at two parties and Drew flies to her defense but then this isn’t mentioned again. Drew expresses privileged skepticism about a project dear to her heart that Alexa is working on but then when he texts in support of her and listens to why it means so much to her, then I guess that means he’s converted to the cause? It just seemed that with little effort, these major issues are brushed away.
I wanted to like this book a bit more than I did. Some current and – for their relationship’s future – pertinent issues are raised but then not explored in depth. I did like how the book shows Alexa and Drew having to work for what they want but in the end, maybe a bit too much time is spent showing the same relationship roadblocks while important issues are only dealt with on the surface. B-
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jayne. I enjoyed your review.
I agree on the work project thing—Drew’s initial comment made me question his politics and whether they were compatible with Alexa’s, but then he came around so quickly that I decided I had probably been mistaken about that. I think the intention was to show that he never thought the issue through before, but once he did he understoood it. Still, it was a little hard to buy.
OTOH I don’t feel that more could or should have been done about the racist characters. Obviously they are going to avoid those people in the future, but unless these guys do something more, which they probably won’t, it’s not like there’s an avenue to pursue there. I think the author was just showing that moving in Drew’s circles, Alexa would on occasion encounter a racist asshole, and Drew would learn that person had an ugly side and be loyal to Alexa and protective of her in the situation.
With regard to Alexa’s self-consciousness about her weight, I was glad there wasn’t more. This book reminded me of Jennfier Crusie’s Bet Me, I guess because both books were light comedies where the characters constantly ate donuts, but I felt it avoided some missteps that Bet Me had such as Min’s size (12) not being all that plus sized, Min’s insufferable mother still being in the picture at the end and Cal constantly stuffing Min with food in an attempt to counter her mother’s fat-shaming.
In The Wedding Date I thought Alexa’s attitude to her body was the kind of body-image consciousness that a lot of us have. It was refreshing and real without being either fat-shaming or unhealthy, and that’s not such an easy line to walk.
@Janine: I can see what you’re saying about the racist characters and Drew did show up well here.
Alexa’s self-consciousness about her weight wouldn’t have bothered me so much except for the fact that it bothered her so much. I agree that I enjoyed her eating what she wanted and not obsessed about that.