This is my first time reading a book by Jasmine Guillory, a black chick-lit author who has gained popularity in recent years. I had seen her adorable book covers and always thought I’d like to read one. I decided on Party of Two mainly because it featured an interracial couple, Max and Olivia. Max is a senator based in New York who spends part of his time in Los Angeles as well. Olivia is a lawyer – a partner, actually – at a new firm she’s recently started with a colleague. The two meet at a hotel bar, where they hit it off and share a love of cake.
Here is the book’s description:
“A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.
“Dating 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 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?”
My Verdict: Party of Two is Worth Reading
Although this book is not the best book I have ever read, I did like it overall. I really enjoyed reading about how Olivia and Max fall for each other. However, I did have a few critiques. The main issue I have with the book is the lack of depth with many of the characters. I didn’t particularly like Olivia. I felt like her inner monologue was unbelievably dramatic. Throughout the entire book, she has doubts about Max, from the moment she meets him. She’s surprised by how she can relate to him. At the time, she didn’t know he was a politician; she just thought of him as a handsome white guy in a baseball cap at the bar. But the issue I had with her was the fact that she didn’t think she could relate to him simply because of his race. The chapters switch between her point of view and Max’s, and I honestly enjoyed reading Max’s perspective more. He genuinely seemed like a good guy considering his occupation. But the book begins with Olivia’s point of view, garnering her as the main character.
I also felt like Olivia was a knock-off version of Olivia Pope from the TV series Scandal, not to mention the romance with a politician. Guillory mentions her outfits, making it seem like she is an exceptionally beautiful woman with taste, and she also is very good at her job, although I felt there could have been more detail there as she was trying to get her firm up and running. I didn’t think Max was too similar to Fitz (from Scandal). He’s much younger than Fitz and a lot less selfish, in my opinion.
The final critique I have for the book is that there was no mention of Max’s family. Toward the end of the book Max meets Olivia’s family, but as a reader, I was left wondering about Max’s parents and whether they would accept Olivia. This just seemed like a missed opportunity to me, and I think it would have given Max more depth, and would have made their relationship more believable. From Olivia’s perspective, I could gather that how she viewed race played a large part in their relationship, but there weren’t any awkward racial moments between them. There were, however, moments where Olivia felt Max was too privileged, but there were other moments where she fully believed in what he was saying during political speeches.
From this review, it probably seems like I didn’t enjoy the book, but I really did. There were some steamy moments, for those of you who enjoy reading love scenes. And I did really like the story overall. I just think the writing could have been improved and the characters could have been stronger. Overall, I think this book is worth a read, especially if you love reading light and fluffy romance novels.
One final note: this book is No. 5 in Guillory’s Wedding Date series. I did not know this, but from what I can tell, there is no need to read the other books of the series before reading this one. If you have read this series by Guillory, is there a tie between characters?
According to Barnes and Noble, books similar to this one are When We Found Home by Susan Mallery, The Bride Test by Helen Hoag, The Man You’ll Marry by Debbie Macomber, and It Happened One Wedding by Julie James.
If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought of it! As always, thank you so much for reading!