Review of “The Wedding Date” by Jasmine Guillory

Guillory, Jasmine. The Wedding Date. New York: Berkley, 2018.

Paperback | $15.00 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399587665 | 310 pages | Contemporary Romance

3.5 stars

The Wedding Date is a sweet and fun story that I more or less enjoyed. Something that I liked from the outset was the fact that in some ways that the relationship between the characters isn’t defined by an imbalance of power in terms of where they are in their careers, as is very popular across subgenres, but instead depicts both Drew and Alexa as established and proficient in their careers. And while their fields of work are different, I like that it shows they both have a great concern for the people they help in their respective careers.

Related to her career choice, I also liked the subtle ways it highlighted racial issues, without overwhelming the story. It’s obvious helping at-risk youth is a passion of hers, and learning her personal reason why only makes it more heartwarming. And I also like how it briefly opens up a dialogue between her and Drew about how similar delinquent behaviors can be looked at differently based on race, due to white privilege. I commend her for discussing that, given how difficult it can be for some people to acknowledge.

I admit I was a bit skeptical as the story played out at the relationship turned sexual immediately, leading to my fears that this would be yet another book where the bond would be entirely based on sex, but between the aforementioned similarities in their interests and the fact that they do have a natural chemistry outside the bedroom as well, this fear was (mostly) put to rest.

What did worry me much more was that this book seemed to be working on the premise that it would show the pitfalls of a long distance relationship, when other evidence suggests this is not the case. I mean, sure, they have misunderstandings due to the distance and Alexa not being able to find the right time to articulate her concerns to him, but I found myself on her side more often than not, given Drew’s behavior. What is she supposed to think when she knows he hasn’t dated seriously in years, and then finds out the manner in which he breaks it off with each of his hookups “while they’re still friendly?” I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, as the exes seem to act like he was such a good guy, but I’d rather be dumped callously and never see him again, rather than remain “friends” and have him dangle his next hookup in my face.

Hiwever, I did still find it an enjoyable read overall, and Drew does grow up at the end. I would recommend it to those who are interested in romances with characters of color, especially if they are interested in subtle undertones of racial issues, with the caveat that it might be more enjoyable to them if they don’t mind that the hero take a while to grow up emotionally.

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