Love and politics make uncomfortable bedfellows in Ewens’ (Premiere: A Love Story, 2014, etc.) latest romantic caper.
Grady Malendar, the wealthy, spoiled son of U.S. Sen. Patrick Malendar, works hard to maintain his image as an irresponsible playboy. Unfortunately for him, his father is running for re-election, and Grady has been assigned a public relations rep to help him clean up his act. Kate Galloway is less than thrilled with her new assignment, but she takes on the Grady problem with aplomb. It won’t come as a surprise that Grady and Kate experience an immediate spark. They do their best to fight the attraction, though; Grady has secrets he’s trying to keep from the spotlight, and Kate is still recovering from a failed marriage and difficult divorce. Yet Grady finds himself drawn to the high-strung PR professional, who also has a vulnerable side, and Kate is intrigued by the kind, compassionate man she finds underneath Grady’s public persona. As their relationship blossoms, they’re forced to confront the demons of infidelity and determine whether complete trust in another person is truly possible. The arc of the narrative is certainly familiar, and the expected outcome is never really in jeopardy. The boy-meets-girl plot is a tried-and-true one, but the likability of Ewens’ protagonists places the book a notch above the typical romance. Kate suffers from insecurities that could doom many relationships, and Grady is a little too perfect (he’s rich, well-built, humble, and enjoys intellectual reading material), although he makes moves that are sure to set romance readers’ hearts aflutter. Ewens also does an admirable job of infusing some tension into the storyline, particularly regarding Grady’s secret (Is it smuggling? Drugs?), but without causing undue concern over the story’s conclusion. The dialogue is witty and full of cultural references. Set against a backdrop of national politics, Ewens’ novel is also a timely read as another election cycle commences.
A fluffy romance with a happy ending that will satisfy even the stodgiest political analyst.