Onward with The Alphabet Challenge Variation (read 18 books where the title/author name begins with the letter A, then B, C, etc. through R).
Letter “G” for Jasmine Guillory
For letter “G,” I read a book that was chosen by my book group, Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date, published in 2018.
This book has received a lot of advance attention and AAR even reviewed it twice, giving it rather average ratings. You can find the reviews here:
Since both reviewers did an excellent job of describing the plot, I will skip that part of my comments and go right into my own views on the story.
For me, I’m closer to the AAR reviewers’ grades of “C” and “C+” then I am to my book group members’ opinions which seemed much more positive. I just felt that Guillory’s overall story was kind of pedestrian. While our heroine, Alexa Monroe, was more fully realized, the hero had very little depth. We know nothing about his family and we know nothing about why he had such a fear of commitment. He just appears to be a serial monogamist, whose relationships, by design, only last a couple of months, period. It was hard, for me, to root for this couple when I just didn’t feel that the hero was written with enough substance to deserve her.
The second thing that puzzled me was that this book focuses a good deal on this couple conducting a long distance relationship — with an emphasis on booty calls — without actually being very explicit about the booty. Now, I don’t need my sex scenes to be explicit and, in fact, I’ve become bored with many of these scenes in other books that are added “just because.” However, this story literally brushes over almost every single engagement, and there are a number of them! Others in my book group agreed with this observation and someone brought up that, in an interview, the author commented that her story was originally much sexier. However, her publisher asked her to tone it down. We surmised that the reasoning behind this was that the publisher wanted this book to appeal to a wider audience — a woman’s fiction as well as romance audience — and so the typical sexier elements you might find in a romance novel of this type were missing. I wonder if they’ve succeeded? For me, I’m not likely to be interested enough to read another book by this author unless she either builds up the plot/characters outside of the bedroom, makes the bedroom scenes more interesting, or ideally both. The Wedding Date has its moments, building up the heroine’s backstory and work issues and introducing the hero’s emotional connection to his patients, but they were not developed enough to override the lack of interest elsewhere.
Maybe the author has to decide what type of book she wants to write and fight for it. I’d give this a B-/C.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 5 down, 13 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G …)