You’re probably aware that Tuesday, Nov. 3, is Election Day in the United States, whether you live in the United States or elsewhere, even if that “elsewhere” is “under a rock.” Yes, politicians (like lawyers!) have a dubious stereotype, but true public servants – people who dedicate their lives to improving the world and the situation of the people around them – make wonderful heroines and heroes. In honor of Election Day, here’s a list of some of AAR’s favorite romances starring politicians.
The Cowboy Says I Do by Dylann Crush
After Lacey Cherish’s father, the mayor of Idont, Texas, was removed from office and arrested, she ran and won. Now she’s trying to restore the family name and the city, which is saddled with major debt. Sheriff Bodie Phillips is both one of Lacey’s best and oldest friends and her bodyguard. When Lacey suggests that they turn Idont into the wedding capital of Texas, he thinks it’s all horsefeathers. The Cowboy Says I Do works for many reasons, and characterisation and romantic chemistry are just half of it. Lacey and Bodie are wonderful together, steamy but funny and awkward. The courtship is perfectly tropey – bedsharing! Feuding families! Work colleagues thrown together! Surprise/fake engagements! – but they come off as unique characters with distinct personalities. And they’re a great friends-to-lovers couple, not losing an iota of their spark along the way.
Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
Kimba Allen met Ezra Stern when they were both infants and his white Jewish mother and black non-religious father had recently moved to Atlanta. But the Sterns moved away when the children were in middle school. Kimba grew up to become a political kingmaker and campaign manager, having recently managed the campaign for the newly elected U.S. president. Ezra became an activist educator, founder of a local private school for low-income kids. He meets Kimba again when she presents him with an award from the Allen family foundation, but it’s not easy timing: Kimba is confronting early perimenopause while Ezra struggles with a separation from his long-time girlfriend, who is also the mother of their child. The scope of this novel’s achievement is staggering. It’s diverse and political without being a polemic. The plot is perfectly paced. The supporting characters and the setting are rich and nuanced, and yet never at the cost of fully-realized protagonists and their inexorable, near-gravitational attraction to each other.
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
Recent LA transplant Olivia Monroe flirtatiously debates cake with an attractive man without realizing that he’s actually her senator, Max Powell. After the two reconnect at a politician function, Olivia is surprised when Max sends her a package with a sweet message, a phone number, and the cake she’d told him was her favorite. She starts falling for Max, but does she like him enough to stand beside him when their romance becomes a public spectacle? Olivia is strong, independent, and opinionated without being bitchy and touchy; a kind, reasonable person who is as quick to stand up for others as she is to defend herself. Easy-going and attentive Max knows how privileged he is and happy to be called on it. The primary political issue discussed is social justice, specifically the school to prison pipeline. The author does a great job of showing the actual work of a senator, from meetings to town halls to press events to the endless travel – and the effect that work has on a relationship.
And how about some historicals?
A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden
Caroline Delacroix loves her job as secretary to irritable, demanding, and rude First Lady Ida McKinley, Glamorous socialite and heiress Caroline loves that she is using her social acumen to serve her country, but her primary reason is to earn a pardon for her twin brother, who has confessed to treason. Secret Service Agent Nathaniel Trask, meanwhile, is a reluctant transfer to the White House. He came into the Treasury department as an artist and a counterfeiting expert, not a bodyguard. When he is introduced to the presidential staff, he is immediately attracted to Caroline. While her work ethic and calm are impressive, he can’t countenance her traitor brother, and seeks to have her fired. The President and First Lady refuse, and as he gets to know Caroline, he realizes just why everyone considers her irreplaceable. Ms. Camden is an expert at weaving absolutely fascinating history into her stories, and here she invites her readers into a rarely discussed time and place. We loved the details of Mrs. McKinley’s cantankerous personality and the epilepsy from which it stems, of early and evolving Presidential security, of how the White House staff lived, and of what the campaigns were like before being revolutionized by radio and TV. A Gilded Lady is filled with mystery, romance, richly drawn characters, and fascinating American history.
Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner
The Tories of English town Lively St. Lemeston have always defeated the Whigs, but this campaign promises to be close fought. Two of the necessary votes are in the possession of widow Phoebe Sparks. In 1812, Phoebe cannot actually vote herself, but because her father was a freeman of the town, she holds his votes “in trust” to be used by her husband, should she remarry. Naturally, both sides are eager to see her wed to a man of their political persuasion in order to secure her votes. Lady Tassell, whose youngest is the Whig candidate, forces her middle son, Nicholas, to Lively St. Lemeston so that he can promote a match between Phoebe and Lady Tassell’s chosen Whig husband. When he arrives and sees Phoebe’s pretty face and voluptuous body, he realises that playing matchmaker might be a much more difficult task than he’d thought.
A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran
Weak and disoriented from a head injury everyone thought would be fatal, Member of Parliament Crispin Burke is surprised to awaken to a wife he has no memory of marrying. In fact, Crispin hardly remembers any of his recent life, but the wedding one isn’t his fault: the marriage certificate is a fake. Jane Monroe had expected Crispin to die when she faked the marriage certificate, knowing as a widow she’d be free of her loathsome uncle, Crispin’s closest political ally. It turns out that Crispin wasn’t a good man in his forgotten life, and his self-serving politics were riddled with corruption and blackmail. This new, post-head-injury Crispin is a different man. When he learns that he is in fact the author of a penal bill he now finds repugnant, he turns to Jane to help him ensure that the bill does not pass. This is where Jane can shine. She grew up in a political household and she’s familiar with pending bills and the important issues of the day. Politics are so central to the lives of both characters that through their conversations and work on the penal bill, their growing mutual attraction takes on a compelling depth as their meeting of the minds leads to near-seamless teamwork. The physical and emotional sides of the romantic relationship are definitely present and well done here, but the pairing of intellects is a particularly sexy aspect.
As always, we have a tag for this! If you want more romances featuring people in politics, try our politician tag! And leave any recommendations you have for books we missed in the comments below.
Oh, and if you’re an eligible voter – go vote!!
Interested in finding more books AAR Loves..?
Check out these posts:
AAR Loves… Partners to Lovers romances – Part One (Military, law enforcement etc.)