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Political palate cleanser

Cover of Party of Two
A review of Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

If the current state of politics in the world is stressing you out, then have I got the book for you. Not only is the politician in this book hard-working and honorable (though certainly not perfect), but there is also deep discussion of cakes and pies and pastries and pizza and tacos! I'm getting hungry just writing about it.

In Jasmine Guillory's Party of Two Olivia Monroe (sister of Alexa the heroine of book one in the series, The Wedding Date) has just moved back to California to start her own law firm with a best friend. She is so newly returned that she is still living in a hotel and when one night an extremely handsome man starts to flirt with her in the hotel bar, she goes with it. Why not? She's never going to see him again and a little light distraction is just what she needs after a long day of working to get her firm up and running. When she later realizes the man she was flirting with is the junior senator from California, Max Powell, she's amused and delighted but expects nothing more. Until they meet up again and it becomes clear that Max is interested in seeing Olivia. But what starts as a no-strings fling (at least to Olivia's way of thinking) becomes much more when they both realize just how deep they're falling.

This was charming and funny and yummy (did I mention the talk of cakes and pies?), which is true of all of Guillory's books. But what's also true is the deft hand with which she handles issues of race and class and privilege. What initially just seem like personal differences - Max is impulsive and spontaneous where Olivia is more careful and deliberate -  are actually both personality differences and learned behaviors based on the lives they've lived. Both Max and Olivia are successful in their career, but as a white man and a black woman they have very different experiences of the world. That tension adds some nice depth to this contemporary tale.

Mar 12, 2024