The Wedding Party: Review
If you like Romance novels—especially ones with diverse characters—then you are probably no stranger to Jasmine Guillory’s work; however, if you are, then this is a great time to get familiar because she truly is shaking up the genre. With her first two books that are loosely connected, we find that Guillory is really good at writing a nuanced character and that has not changed with The Wedding Party.
In the third book in the series, we are following Maddie and Theo’s somewhat forbidden romance. The only thing Maddie and Theo have in common, or so it seems, is that they are both best friends with Alexa (the main character from The Wedding Date). Guillory reintroduces us to these two characters in the beginning of the book, which appears to be in the middle of her first book. At first this is confusing, but once I was able to reacquaint myself with the story line from her other novels I was able to recalibrate and dive back into the story.
Theo and Maddie seem to be polar opposites, but as the story goes along we find out they have more in common than they think. And that their chemistry goes beyond a one-night stand that happened after a party. The story follows the two trying to fight their feelings while they continue to be “friends with benefits” behind their friends back yet with each encounter they get more and more along. The thing that makes this book stand a part is the reason why the two are sneaking around. Their reason is unusual and doesn’t fall in line with other romantic comedy tropes, instead it is unique and somewhat relatable. They do not want their friends to find out because if they do they will be too happy and want them to stay together, unlike in other stories the friends would get mad. This really helps weave the story together and make it stronger.
Maddie is a passionate and driven entrepreneur who has a styling business. We see Maddie, or read her character, we are given the image of a strong Black woman who guards her heart and her business and that is the exact thing we see in Theo except in the public service sector. These mirroring images makes for an interesting dynamic between the two characters and I even found myself rooting for Theo towards the end.
As women, we have been conditioned to protect ourselves and our dreams and that includes from men who could possibly cause us heartbreak and that is what we see with Maddie. As her and Theo’s relationship becomes more and more intimate versus just physical we see both Theo and Maddie put their guards up as a natural reflex. After Theo’s injuries, we really see how much Maddie cares about Theo and that makes her scared and I believe that Guillory does a good job at addressing the self-sabotage that sometimes we can be responsible in positive situations.
Maddie becomes overbearing and protective when he leaves the hospital and tries to deny it, which pushes Theo to react in a negative way when his brother asks him about their relationship. And it is this scene that I believe that Guillory’s peak writing comes in. I recall the many times a man has said disparaging remarks about me because they were scared to show their real feelings to their friends. Again, this only makes story more relatable. The comments Theo makes to his brother Ben amount Maddie are impeccably written.
It is this scene that all of their “sneaking around” comes to a head. Their texting while Alexa tries on a wedding dress. The touching at parties and trying to be discrete. The secret visits. All of it comes crashing down in that one moment and Guillory writes from that scene on with even more passion than she did previously. Although we can all assume the ending of this story, she makes it interesting on the ride towards it. I fell in love with Maddie’s character how she slowly began to become self-aware about her actions especially when she goes up for the news channel job and I began to understand Theo’s nuanced attitude as we watch his rally unravel due to protest.
believe that Guillory does a better job in this book of making this scenario more believable and realistic. How many times have we been attracted to a mutual friend of a friend and are afraid to go down that path because it may ruin everything else or people may start to expect too much from your relationship. This scenario seemed less far-fetched than that of The Proposal. I also found myself rooting for Theo more than I did Maddie at first, and I believe that was Guillory’s fantastic writing that did that. I rarely root for the guy in romance novels.
Overall, I believe that this novel is fast-paced and a great summer read. Readers can see themselves in different aspects of the characters. Guillory is also a master at the perfectly crafted sex scenes in novels and she does not disappoint in this book because she really captures the excitement in a “hidden affair.” This book will have you laughing and crying and talking to the characters as though they are your friends too, but it will also have you blushing so make sure you read somewhere private.