Book Review: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
“Women who know how to fight hold themselves differently …. You walk into any situation with an attitude that you’ve got this, you can defend yourself, you are strong. My marriage sapped me of a lot of my strength, and what made it worse were the constant messages I got from society that women are weak, women should be afraid, women should settle for whatever they can get. And I want the women who walk into this gym to know that women have power and agency and deserve great things in life.”
I read and loved Jasmine Guillory’s debut The Wedding Date earlier this year, so I was very excited to read her follow-up novel, The Proposal. The Proposal follows Nikole Paterson and Carlos Ibarra. We met Carlos in The Wedding Date; he was Drew’s best friend, and I absolutely adored Carlos and was very excited for his own book. Nik Paterson has been dating Fisher, an actor, for five months when he unexpectedly proposes on the jumbotron at a Dodgers game. When she turns him down, Fisher does not take it well, and he and his friends leave Nik there. Carlos and his sister Angela are a few rows behind Nik and rescue her from the vulture camera crew. Pretty quickly, Carlos and Nik form a friendship, yet they are both extremely attracted to each other. When they embark on a fling, each of them is perfectly happy with something casual, but as they spend more time together, will they be okay with their relationship just being a fling?
Like in The Wedding Date, female friendships are very important and a big part of the story. Nik’s two best friends Dana and Courtney are her chosen family and her sounding board for everything. After Nik refuses Fisher and he responds with some vaguely threatening texts, Nik begins to get a little paranoid, so she signs the three of them up for a self-defense class at a gym. I loved this storyline; Nik is an independent person and normally does not take any bullshit from anyone, but after the proposal goes viral and she gets flooded with rude messages, she needs to do something to channel her rage and frustration. The gym is run and owned by Natalie, a seemingly perky blonde cheerleader, whose mission is to empower women. Jasmine Guillory rewrote parts of The Proposal after the 2016 election and focused more on the anger and fear Nik felt in the aftermath of the viral proposal, but Nik never lets it take over her life.
For as much as I loved Carlos in The Wedding Date, I did not expect for him to be such a family man. Carlos is extremely close to his family, especially after his father died five years ago. He is always there for his little sister Angela and his mother, as well as his aunt and cousin. Anytime they call and need something, he is there, and even when he is not needed, he shows up. I loved how much family meant to Carlos, and the times when he talks to Nik about his family and his grief over his father are some of the best moments of the book. His vulnerability was lovely to witness, and Nik always understood exactly what he needed in those moments.
Carlos and Nik’s relationship was delightful to watch unfold. Because they started as friends, a lot of their interactions, especially the sexy times, involve witty banter and laughter. I liked how each of them opened up to one another in ways they never had with anyone else before. Even when they both thought they were just in a casual fling, neither one could stop thinking about the other. My favorite scene in the whole book is when they make enchiladas at Carlos’ house. Their ease around each other and banter is amazing, and when Carlos gets a scary call from his cousin about her pregnancy, Carlos leans on Nik, and she takes care of him. It was really sweet. I think this scene made the book for me.
If you are looking for a fun and timely contemporary romance, look no further than Jasmine Guillory’s books. I thoroughly enjoyed The Proposal and give it 4 stars.
What are some of your favorite tropes in romance?