Rating: 3 / 5
Jasmine Guillory’s The Proposal is the fun and light-hearted story of friends with benefits, freelance writer Nik and pediatrician Carlos, and their resistance to get more serious.
Nik has been dating Fisher, a vapid aspiring actor, for five months when he drags her to a Dodger’s game with his equally uninteresting friends. When he proposes to her at the game in front of thousands of fans, she’s shocked and confused – obviously she doesn’t want to marry him! She declines his offer and he storms off, leaving her to fend for herself when camera crews descend on her. Carlos and his sister Angie save her under the pretense that they’re old pals and get her out of Dodgers Stadium as quickly as possible.
Nik and Carlos have an instant connection, but Nik was just proposed to in the most public and humiliating fashion, so she surely isn’t interested in getting involved with another guy so quickly. Although she fights it, the two continue to connect.
What follows is a fun, casual, and hot fling – until it isn’t. Will Carlos and Nik be able to maintain their friends-with-benefits relationship, even while developing real feelings for one another? Neither wants a serious relationship, but you can only control your heart so much.
Please take caution while reading The Proposal if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Pregnancy / childbirth
I want to preface this review my noting that The Proposal is the first contemporary romance fiction novel I’ve ever read. While I don’t think this genre is one of my favorites, I see its merits and love to branch out every once in a while.
I loved a lot of things about The Proposal, at the top of the list being the diversity packed into it. Neither Nik or Carlos is white – Nik is Black and Carlos hispanic. Nik’s best friends are Asian and homosexual, respectively. Carlos’s best friend, who is white, is marrying a Black woman. This is real life – not whitewashed. Los Angeles is an extremely diverse city, and this novel absolutely captures that fact.
Nik’s relationship with her best friends, Courtney and Dana, and the focus on female independence and empowerment weaved throughout the novel were fantastic additions to an otherwise light read. All three women are independently successful in very different ways, and none rely – or even want to rely – on men. The Proposal surely passes the Bechdel test and is a breath of fresh air.
Guillory leans heavily on dialogue to move the story along, which is not my favorite writing style, but which does get the job done. The characters are developed well and I felt like I knew Nik and Carlos quite well by the end of the book. Their relationship blossoms organically – i.e. they don’t jump in the sack and fall in love immediately. Their inner monologues are plagued with concerns about being in a serious relationship and how to keep the other from wanting to take things to the next level, which stem from issues in both of their pasts. There is a surprisingly good amount of depth to this rom-com.
Ultimately, I enjoyed reading The Proposal. I thought it was fun and relatively funny, with the perfect amount of honesty and reality weaved in. If you love rom-coms, I think you’ll enjoy this. Even if you don’t love them, this is a nice light read to bring into the fold.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on The Proposal! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya.