cover image The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date

Jasmine Guillory. Berkley, $15 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-58766-5

In Guillory’s flat debut, a stalled elevator sparks a fake date that leads to muddled emotions. After Drew Nichols, a sexy pediatrician from Los Angeles, and Alexa Monroe, the Berkeley mayor’s chief of staff, are stuck in an elevator together, he inexplicably asks her to be his date at his ex-girlfriend’s wedding. The charade develops into a long-distance relationship stifled by doubts and overthinking as the two protagonists attempt to reconcile their emotions and questions about each other’s feelings. There are some awkward, sweet, and sexy moments between the newly acquainted characters, but the story wanes as Alexa and Drew attempt a real relationship; complications aren’t developed, and the constant overthinking diminishes the strengths of the characters. Mundane details and stilted dialogue add little complexity to the plot or characters, slowing the narrative pace. The protagonists have some amusing quirks and habits that reveal their flaws, but overuse destroys their charm. The lack of exposition and rushed narrative make it difficult to fully identify with the characters or stay engaged with the story, in spite of some sensual episodes. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Feb.)