When I finished reading early 2018’s The Wedding Date, it was great news to read that writer Jasmine Guillory had another book coming out. Thanks to a few specific websites, I really took to reading the “good kind” of romance fiction they recommended (to realize later that most of it has been, is, and always will be wonderful) and Guillory’s books were warm, comforting hugs before bedtime.
I liked that food played such a role in her romance fiction. What you eat means something to you. What you LOVE to eat is a representation of your own personal history and identity. Because Guillory emphasized so much on the connection, the community of cooking and eating food in both of her books from 2018, The Wedding Date, and The Proposal, I automatically related more to her characters. The fun bonus? It’s a direct affront to the seemingly hundreds of hetero-normative romance books in which our fair heroine obsessed over food and diet to prove her value to the love interest as the icing on the cupcake. We didn’t read her incessantly digging into salads, frown into the numbers of a scale and pulling at her waistband.
In The Proposal, it’s no coincidence that the main character, Nik, shakes off her own anxieties gained from previous terrible relationships through a self-defense course at a women’s gym, that embraces the diversity of every woman’s experience and shape and culture, et al. An organic way to chip away at the way culture, at large, has shamed women for not being able to “control” their food intake, let alone having the nerve to take pleasure in food, I’m a fan of how this directly correlated to her female characters’ sexual appetites. (Luckily, Guillory is an adept enough writer to reveal this as a totally normal and awesome thing. It wasn’t pandering in the slightest.) It even served as a MacGuffin a la Hitchcock films. An enchilada MacGuffin that I imagined biting into, with transparent lust.
Carlos was a great supporting character from Guillory’s earlier 2018 book. Adorable, sensible, dependable, and delectable. The leading man version of Carlos in The Proposal was almost as enticing as that. Written as a much more realistic person with flaws and a giant hero complex, what I appreciated about this version over the other was the attempt of his character to work on those flaws. For his heroine’s sake and for his family’s.
We spend a lot of time with Carlos and focus so much on his family drama in the middle of the book that Nik almost becomes a secondary character. There is such a comparatively small amount of time spent with Nik’s girlfriends beyond their supportive friend duties—a sub-plot between one of them and the owner of the women’s gym is sweet, but you can see the “secret” coming from a mile away—I can’t rate this book higher than a 3.5.
Thanks to another realistic and charming couple from Guillory, though, I look forward to her next book. And I’m sure I’ll be hungry as hell once I finish it…
[3.5 Stars out of 5]