Friday, February 1, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Pursuit of Happiness, Carsen Taite


Pursuit of Happiness is the third book I've read by Taite. Actually, my first ever NetGalley book was Taite's A More Perfect Union, which came out December 2017. I'd requested it on a whim and ended up really enjoying it to the point of seeking out more books in the lesfic genre. This one features a few recurring characters from A More Perfect Union and an earlier Taite book I haven't read, but you don't need to read those before reading this one.

As you can probably guess from the titles, Taite often writes about politics and the law. One thing I like about that is her stories feature strong women with tough jobs. In Pursuit of Happiness, Meredith is a Democratic senator and and Stevie is a public defender. Both are career-driven but find themselves drawn together after meeting at a senate hearing. But things get complicated when Meredith gets a last-minute opportunity to run in the primaries for the chance to be the Democratic presidential nominee, and Stevie's not sure she wants the exposure that would come with dating a presidential candidate.

I requested this title because I was interested in seeing how a female presidential candidate was portrayed. Unfortunately, even though I downloaded this in December, I had to talk myself into actually starting this one because current politics have left a bad taste in my mouth. Once I started it, though, it was smooth sailing. Taite's writing is pleasant and easy to read, and this book is only about 230 pages. I was surprised that after the first chapter, I was already 10% in.

I liked both Meredith and Stevie as main characters, especially in that they're both portrayed as wanting to serve the public even though they do it in very different ways. Their chemistry wasn't amazing, though, and I think that's because they get together too quickly and there wasn't enough build-up. I wish I knew both heroines better as individuals because that would've told me more about why they liked each other.

Which brings me to my biggest complaint--the length. This book covers a lot of time, from the fall before an election year all the way to the next inauguration, but it's only 230-ish pages. I really feel like Taite could have made this 100 pages longer. That would've helped flesh out not only the relationship but the situations each character found themselves in.

And one last minor quibble. This is from the synopsis: "When her client reveals a Mitchell family scandal that could derail Meredith's career, everything Meredith and Stevie value hangs in the balance, including Meredith's shot at the presidency and their chance at love." Without digging too much into spoilers, I take issue with that being in the synopsis because it happens after the 50% point and because it didn't seem like it was used to as great an extent as it could have been.

Overall, this is a sweet romance with an interesting political backdrop that touches on current events without being as rage-inducing as actual current events. Because at least in fiction, the good guys win and love prevails. I'd recommend this for Carsen Taite fans and readers of political romance.

Thanks to NetGalley, Bold Strokes Books, and Carsen Taite for the e-copy.

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