One of the most attractive qualities of Jasmine Guillory's first two novels was that they take place in world that is diverse yet relatable to a wide variety of readers. The author has a light hand in dealing with race and the challenges of living in a multicultural yet far from post-racial world. The Wedding Party continues in that vein yet tries to integrate a bit more realism and cultural specificity this time compared to the first two books. Theo is an aide to the Mayor of Berkeley, California and Maddie is a professional stylist. Both are people of color who struggle with what their identity means for their professional careers as they navigate a world that is still predominantly white and they are still somewhat marginalized.
Guillory handles those issues with a light but honest touch. Both Theo and Maddie feel like outsiders with little room for error; they feel the pressure of knowing they have to work twice as hard as their peers to be taken seriously let alone treated equally. Their challenges are organically integrated into the love story as the two rivals get to know and support each other. Whereas they initially see each other as types, opposites who attract on a sexual basis alone, they more they share, the more they connect and respect each other, and that is the fundamental basis for their romantic relationship. That mutual connection is one of the more distinctive elements in an otherwise conventional rival/friends with secret benefits to lovers storyline. It's a sweet, very mildly sexy story, and a predictable, yet modern and enjoyable read.
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