Monday, July 22, 2019

a love letter to Jasmine Guillory

Dear Jasmine,

After reading and enjoying your first two novels, The Wedding Date and The Proposal, and hearing you speak at ALA last summer, I was excited to revisit those characters in your third novel, The Wedding Party, but also get to know new characters in this fictional universe. I wouldn't consider your books a series (would you?), but I do love seeing the characters pop up in the other novels. It's so much fun. This book features Maddie and Theo, the two best friends of Alexa, the heroine of The Wedding Date, but I admit, I didn't remember much about either one. Thankfully, your reminders helped me remember without feeling like you were re-telling key scenes from The Wedding Date. And I fell so in love with both of them, but especially Maddie, that I might even go back and re-read The Wedding Date knowing what I know now.

I'm a reader who doesn't read many romance novels (perhaps I just haven't found the right ones?), but I love your romance novels. Your characters feel like real people, and I loved that the narration in The Wedding Party allows the reader to go inside the minds of both Maddie and Theo. Even though I presume a happy ending involving the two main characters falling in love in your books, I always enjoy the journey. It takes a great storyteller to write a book that's entertaining and fun and suspenseful when you already know guess the ending. I also think each book has been better than the last one. I know you wanted to write Maddie's story second, but I'm glad it worked out this way because I think this novel is even better. As I read, I laughed (out loud and in public), I teared up (more than once in public), and then I read the last 10% through tears streaming down my face (thankfully on my couch where I was happy to let you make me a blubbering mess). I love the way you tell stories, but your characters are what I love most. They feel like real people, and I love that the characters recur in your books in ways that feel organic. Even though I knew it was coming, I actually squealed (out loud) when Nik appeared. And she stole the first scene she was in, not necessarily because of anything in this book, but because of how much I loved her in The Proposal. I hope we see more of her in the future, and I dream of her two best friends each getting their own turn as a main character in future novels. While I'm over here dreaming up ideas of novels I don't even know if you plan to write, I'm so glad I don't have to wait long for your next novel. Royal Holiday, featuring Maddie's mom Vivian. Vivian shines in her scenes in The Wedding Party, and it will be wonderful to see her get a turn for some romance (out October 1st.) Tempting as it may be to read it the day it comes out, I might wait until Thanksgiving to stay in the holiday spirit. But perhaps when it's not the hottest part of July, when Christmas and winter seem so very far away, October will feel close enough to the holidays. Until then, I'll keep following your journey on Instagram, where I love to see what you're writing, baking, where you're traveling, and how many hundreds of days of yoga in a row you've done.

Carrie (nomadreader)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 351 pages
Publication date: July 16, 2019
Source: publisher

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