When Alexa Monroe gets stuck in an elevator on the way to celebrate her older sister’s promotion, she doesn’t expect to end up as the girlfriend of Drew Nichols, who’s stuck there with her. But that’s exactly what happens after he proposes that she pretend to be his date at his ex’s wedding. In classic rom-com style, they instantly hit it off, but there’s a catch: He lives in L.A. and she lives in Berkeley, each with established careers. (Drew is a surgeon, and Alexa is the mayor’s chief of staff.) From there, they must figure out how much they mean to each other and whether it’s worth it to uproot their lives for what could be love.
I went into this book knowing nothing about it, which was refreshing and is so rare for me as a book editor. I found Alexa and Drew’s relationship believable and extremely well crafted. Race, of course, plays a part, given that Alexa is black and Drew is white. There’s a hilariously spot-on scene in which she asks him if she will be the only black person at the wedding and he, albeit guiltily, admits that it hadn’t occurred to him to check. Guillory manages this moment and so many others with a deft hand, touching on the issues the two will continue to face, should they become a couple, with a dash of humor.
There is so much to love: the realistic depiction of their professional lives and how being with someone can mean making room (and time) for work; the body positivity throughout the entire novel; the full, actualized supporting cast, from Alexa’s “work husband,” a great representation of a platonic relationship between a man and a woman, her incredibly supportive best friend, and her sister, with whom she has a loving yet complicated relationship—as well as Drew’s friends and colleagues. I loved reading about how a woman who’s passionate about her job and ambitious—Alexa dreams of starting an arts program for at-risk youth—pursues love.
Guillory, a successful lawyer turned novelist, managed to keep me guessing about Alexa and Drew’s budding (and very hot!) romance until the very end, and showed that choosing love is never easy. With the heart and humor of our very own Nora Ephron ’62, The Wedding Date is a must-read for all us alums who dream of finding love while pursuing our careers and ambitions.
Caldwell is an associate editor at Disney-Hyperion and the founder of People of Color in Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @whimsicallyours.