I started reading romance novels in 2016, in large part due to the emotional chaos wrought by the American presidential election. Luckily, judging by McQuiston’s author note at the end of this novel, she saw a need in the general readership and persevered in filling it. This book is exactly what I needed as the 2020 election season ramps up, and I foresee myself reading it again more than once as an escape from future stress.

This book is not written necessarily as any sort of attempt at an alternate history utopia, but it is a fantastical “what might have been” (both in the United States and England). All of the characters are developed, well-rounded, and a different assortment of diverse. But it doesn’t read as forced diversity so much as a look at what our countries should be, and possibly, hopefully, will be one day.

Alex and Henry are a delightful pair along the full spectrum of their enemies to lovers journey. Their individual character arcs are also vivid and satisfying. Both men face so much internal and external pressure to just let things lie and take the easy way out, but I’m so glad that they didn’t, and that I got to go along for the ride.

I burned through this book on a single travel day, and ended up with the best sort of book hangover. I didn’t want the story to end. And I wanted to live in the world McQuiston created. Maybe one day I’ll get to.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter), and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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