Friday, March 19, 2021

Emma Barry - Special Interests

Union organizer Millie Frank's world isn't filled with cocktails and nightclubs…until she's turned into an unwitting minor celebrity. As if being part of a hostage situation wasn't traumatizing enough, now her face is splashed across the news. But Millie's got fresher wounds to nurse—like being shot down by the arrogant bad boy she stupidly hit on.
Parker Beckett will do whatever it takes to close a deal for the senate majority leader, including selling out union labor. Charming and smart on the surface, he's also cynical and uncommitted—an asset on the Hill. But something about Millie has stuck with him and when negotiations bring her to his office, Parker breaks his own rules and asks her out.
Parker can't understand how Millie has retained her idealism in a place like D.C. Millie can't believe what Parker's willing to sacrifice in order to pass a budget. But as they navigate their political differences, what grows between them looks a lot like a relationship…and maybe even a little like love.

Comment: I got interested in this book because it would feature two protagonists on political opposed sides. If there's a sign this would be an opposites attract type of trope, who wouldn't guess it? This is another book which has been languishing in the pile...

When this story begins, protagonists Milly and Parker meet at a bar and are mutually attracted but when Milly proposes they leave together, Parker decides to let her go, not wanting to do something that might cause her to dislike him when she gets to know how he really is. However, they meet each other again the next day, at work, and on oppose sides of the conference desk. It does seem they wouldn't have anything in common, at least not enough to sustain a romantic relationship but, despite their doubts, they do spend time together, they do challenge one another and it starts to be difficult to explain why they shouldn't be together after all...

This was one of those books I had trouble getting into. The writing style is simple and without any special effects, so to speak, but sadly for me, it also made the story feel boring. I had to push myself to pick this up and turn the pages so I can't say it was such a great experience.

At the surface, nothing is wrong, really, and I can understand and rationalize why other readers have enjoyed it, especially those who, like me, preferred the political/plot side of the book better than the romance. It's not that I'm knowledgeable in American politics (not at all) and wanted to check how realistic the author was - I assume well enough for this plot - nor that I wanted to learn a lot about it - that's what non fiction is there for - but I did want to see how the antagonism between the characters and their opposite views would be a hindrance or a ... let's call it"aphrodisiac", as they developed their relationship. It's always nice to have positive collateral issues such as getting to understand the basics of how certain things worked and, for what it mattered here, that was satisfactory to me.

Regrettably, the way I saw it, the romance was not such a good element. I can see the potential and I can imagine how these two would be an interesting match and how much fun they could have in slowly getting to know one another and appreciate the other person for precisely the things they thought they might not care about in them. In theory at least. What was described on the page, though, didn't sound as romantic nor as captivating as the idea... I felt the author took things too far in the whole "should we try, should we give up" and at some point I confess I lost interest.

From that moment on - I believe I was not yet half way - I considered giving up but in the end I kept going because the relationship was cued enough for me to still have some curiosity over how it would play out and there's always hope things improve or that the end will make it worth it. I think I'll let it end on the fact the author had to give her effort to this and I appreciate it a lot, but it turned out this book wasn't a winner for me. I just failed to see the "magic" in it and I miserably failed to connect with the characters. It was not fun to read this book and I must confess too, it was a good moment for me when it ended.

Things are what they are but I wish this story had been more thrilling, more romantic, more heartfelt, that the main characters could have a better chemistry or that the author could have shown that differently, perhaps. 

All in all, I can't say I'll remember this book fondly... One day, I might try another book not in this series by the author, to compare the writing style...

Grade: 4/10

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