The Wedding Date (#1)
The Proposal (#2)
The Wedding Party (#3)
Royal Holiday (#4)
In Party of Two we are drawn back into the Six Degrees of Separation of the two original characters from The Wedding Date, Alex and Drew. Olivia is Alex’s older sister who was arrested as a teenager. So when Olivia randomly meets the “hot US senator” Max Powell without realizing it, and they start to meet up, her troubled past and his criminal justice focus create the beginnings of the conflict for this story.
When I started reading Guillory’s novels I was a huge fan. Her style felt new and fresh and I LOVE food so its inclusion alongside the romance made everything seem so much more decadent and enticing. However, by the time I reached The Wedding Party (Alex and Drew’s wedding with a different focus couple who are in ~The Wedding Party~) the script had worn a bit predictable for me. I know that different genres rely on certain structural expectations (e.g. a happily ever after in romance) but reading The Wedding Party was like putting together a child’s 10 piece puzzle for me: from the first chapter I could write the story of these two lovers in my head so why even read the book?
Also I think it would be interesting to order all the food that the characters eat, just to see the massive quantity of things that there is no way the characters actually ate. I am 37 years old and my body is already moving into early bird special dinner at 4:30pm and in bed by 8:30pm. The quantity of food I can eat at a sitting without feeling gross is getting smaller and smaller. In this book alone I think Max sends Olivia something like five entire cakes, two or three in the span of three days when he’s trying to apologize. Bitch, send flowers! Goddamn what am I gonna do with all this cake!
So I took a break from her work for a while and didn’t immediately pick up Royal Holiday, which is Alex’s stylist best friend Maddie’s mom’s turn at the romance cycle. When I did, it was short and sweet with very little sex and very international snacks (Vivian and Malcolm meet while Maddie is styling the Duchess of Sussex, i.e. Harry and Meghan, in London). They are both grown and so the main detractor to their romance is the distance, which was dealt with kind of quickly to get to the HEA. I didn’t review it because it didn’t seem worth the time.
I say all of this to say that in contrast to books 3 and 4, Party of Two (#5) was really really excellent and a return to how I felt about Guillory in the very beginning. I was invested in the characters. I wanted to know how they would overcome Max’s fame/spontaneity and Olivia’s shyness/thoroughness. I cared whether or not they got together. This is a classic story of one person’s strengths making up for the other’s weaknesses and how we come together in a relationship so that we honor the other person, but also step up to meet them where they are. Party of Two is easily the best entry in this entire series after the original book itself. You can pick it up right away without having to read any of the others, and you should pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.
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