TBR Day. Special Interests / Emma Barry. 2014


I remember reading a number of positive reviews of this book when it came out almost exactly two years ago. I'm sure I purchased it on the strength of those reviews, but like too many of the books I buy, it got pushed to the back burner. I was scrolling through my Kindle titles recently and realized that this would be an excellent choice for this month's TBR Challenge.

The blurb:
Compared to love, politics is easy
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.
Special Interests by Emma Barry, is a smart, fun look at two people at political odds who cannot fight their attraction to one another. It seemed extremely appropriate to read this book during a time when we in the U.S. have an abundance of "Super Tuesdays." The primaries dominate the news cycle and cynicism about our government abounds. I liked reading a book about two people who are behind the politicians whose faces are in the news, yet are the ones doing the real work of government.

To me, the book's strengths lie in the ways we get to know both Millie and Parker. Parker is a workaholic--any personal time he gives himself is devoted to his mother and his grandparents. Millie cares deeply for the unions she represents, but is also dealing with the trauma of having been caught up in a hostage situation. The dialogue between the two is great and pretty funny in spots. There's real poignancy to Parker's interactions with his grandfather who has Alzheimer's, and also to the way Parker helps Millie with her nightmares. When their personal and professional lives overlap, there is a genuine conflict that needs to be resolved. Passing a budget is a very real issue, as we Americans have experienced in the not-too-distant past. And given a government where compromise isn't on the table, there's a cost to getting results. All of this is so well portrayed in the book.

One aspect I didn't care for so much was that Millie's insecurities got in the way so easily and then what I perceived to be Parker's over-reaction to them. Their relationship is still very new and playing out against a very stressful political issue and suddenly there's an all-or-nothing moment. I had a hard time buying into that. But it only briefly dimmed my enjoyment of the book, and Parker and Millie's reconciliation was sweet and believable.

Altogether, this is an easy book to recommend. I've already purchased Private Politics, the next book in the series, and look forward to reading it.


Comments

  1. This is buried in the depths of my Kindle as I was intrigued by the union(s) angle. It's just, you know, keeping past the "political stuff."

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    1. Oh, I know. I was impressed with Barry's ability to keep it real, yet humanize it. I thought the political stuff hit just the right note.

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  2. I love all of Emma Barry's politically set romances. I enjoy the reminder that the people working in politics and government are real people. Of course, I loved West Wing, too.

    Her books about early astronauts, written with Genevieve Turner, are also really good. I highly recommend Star Dust, the first of those. It's historical fiction about the 1960s; how cool is that?

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    1. I was a huge West Wing fan, too. It was brilliant TV. And I do have Star Dust as well! I should make a point to read that soon. I was young, but I do remember the 60s, lol!

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  3. This sounds so good! I hate politics in real life, but enjoy them in romance and TV (yeah West Wing!).

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    1. I miss West Wing. I hope you enjoy this one if you get a chance to read it.

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  4. I never thought about looking for a political romance. This is the first I've heard of this book - I must be living under a rock. LOL

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    1. There aren't that many political romances around, and maybe for good reason since politics are so awful these days. I hope Barry will write more some day.

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  5. West Wing (and Newsroom) for the win--but I don't think I can get past the current toxicity and outright stupidity in US politics to enjoy the novel. At least not until oh, sometime next February.

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    1. Yay for all of the West Wing fans! And I get how current US politics could sour you toward this book. I hope some day things improve so you can enjoy it.

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  6. This sounds intriguing... I have had it in my radar for a while now... I think this was chosen by someone in the challenge one or two years ago...I seem to recall having added it to my TBR because of it.
    Happy reading, Phyl!!
    ****

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    1. I think you're right. I've seen a fair bit of chatter about it. So enjoy!

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