The Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory (Review)

Alexa Monroe is on the way to meet her sister when she gets stuck in a hotel lift with a handsome stranger.

Drew Nichols is in town for the wedding of two of his best friends, one of whom just happens to be his ex. Dateless and dreading the party, Drew finds himself stuck in a lift with a beautiful woman who inexplicably agrees to be his fake girlfriend for the weekend.

Now, as I have stated in earlier reviews, I love a good fake relationship romance, and meeting in a lift is another classic rom-com trope. This joyful interpretation of these produces the resulting meet-cute with a great sense of humour, but doesn’t over do it, kicking off one of the best series of contemporary romances I’ve ever read.

Having now read all of Jasmine Guillory’s romances (apart from the one that came out today that I’m saving for when I’ve finished my current book pile), I was tempted to review them as I read them: all in one go. However, although all of them interweave beautifully with each other, featuring and setting up characters that other novels then focus on, I decided it wouldn’t quite do Guillory justice. The Wedding Date, The Proposal, The Wedding Party, and Royal Holiday all have a lot in common. This is often deliberate as they exist in the same world, but they also can stand on their own two feet, and therefore I’ve decided to review them individually. Guillory’s next novel also came out today (you can get it here!), so I thought now was the perfect time to share my enthusiasm for her writing.

It’s a common theme across romance novels that authors sometimes set up side-characters that they like for later novels. This can come across as a little frustrating as it feels as if the author has already moved on from the current story and makes you, as the reader, wonder why you should have to stick around either (*ahem* Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop *ahem*). I can’t overstate just how little Guillory does this. Although almost all of the leads in her next three books (four including Party For Two) feature in The Wedding Date, every character is so fully realised, however small a part they play, that finding out that there were separate books about some of them just made me excited to be able to go back into her world, and catch up with those characters.

When it comes to the actual leads of THIS novel, Alexa is a great heroine. She’s enthusiastic and good at her job, she has genuine friendships with both men and women, and she has no problem holding her own, despite some relatable areas of self-consciousness. She’s also just cool, and I grew extremely fond of her. Guillory excels in depicting the smaller details of growing romance, and she makes her central pair a fun and likeable couple to spend a few hours with. Both times I’ve read this book, I’ve read it all in one go because it’s so engaging: knowing how it ends didn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

Drew is also a fun hero: charming and slightly douchey to begin with, Guillory pleasingly doesn’t put any of the onus of Drew’s character development on Alexa at all. Alexa doesn’t force him to change, neither does she have to spend lots of time bringing him up: Drew’s feelings for Alexa (and endless mockery by his friend Carlos) are entirely up to him to handle and come to terms with. I think both Alexa and Drew’s appeal, like Guillory’s other leads, is that they’re both real adults. Any disgreements throughout the novel result from selfishness, thoughtlessness, or miscommunication, but the problem is never childishness, and that was refreshing to read.

More than anything, Guillory’s novels remind me of the joy I get from a good rom-com. The Wedding Date reminds me of Set It Up, or the criminally under-rated 27 Dresses, or even the 2004 film of the same name: The Wedding Date. They all use the rom-com genre to revel in the cheesiness, humour, and romance of a well-told love story. In words from one of the ultimate examples of this, The Holiday, ‘I like corny. I’m looking for corny in my life’, and oh boy does Jasmine Guillory deliver.

You can buy it here, and keep an eye out for my reviews of her other novels in the coming weeks!

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