[Some Spoilers, For Mature Audiences]
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
With the popularity of TV shows like Scandal, Madame Secretary, and The Good Wife, the political romance genre is really in demand right now. But you should know that authors like Mary Whitney have been doing this for years. In fact, no one can combine politically savvy characters, heartfelt drama, and delicious romance–all within diverse, real-world situations–the way Mary does. I’ve loved her work for years, and the Beside Your Heart series is definitely MUSTREAD!
The first book in the series, Beside Your Heart, begins with Nicki Johnson in the midst of some very difficult circumstances. She’s recovering from a car accident that took her younger sister’s life, and even though she and her mother survived, they’re both still dealing with the physical and emotional scars. And as Nicki begins her senior year in high school, she receives some much needed relief in the form of Adam Kincaid. Adam is only in Texas for a year, while his dad–a professor visiting from England–does research. Nicki and Adam strike up a friendship that quickly becomes something more. He’s the only person she feels comfortable confiding in when it comes to her grief. And Adam makes Nicki feel beautiful; they laugh together and he so badly wants to make her life easier. But your first/high school love can’t be the one…or so Adam and Nicki’s parents tell them. So when it comes time for Adam to return to England, he and Nicki part ways with sadness, but with the realization that their year together changed them for the better.
When we pick up with Nicki in Disclosure of the Heart, she’s leading an incredibly successful and cosmopolitan life. 16 years have passed, and Nicki is now living in Washington D.C. with her best friend Lisa. She has a great career as deputy press secretary for the new president AND a hot boyfriend/almost fiance Juan Carlos. Life is good, in fact it’s great! But that doesn’t stop the world from shifting when she sees Adam for the first time since he left Texas. He’s the head of the BBC’s DC office, so of course their paths would cross. But that isn’t enough to explain the nerves and butterflies Nicki feels when she’s in Adam’s presence. They’ve both changed so much since high school, but it’s clear that there’s still something strong between them. As they attempt to rekindle their friendship, will they be able to overcome the doubts that first separated them?
I love seeing Nicki living a fabulous life! She’s confident, influential, and worldly. But the interesting thing is that Adam is all these things too. It’s so clear from their first meeting that they still care for one another, and I thoroughly enjoy watching these two rediscover that love. However, it’s certainly not instantaneous!
I also enjoy watching Nicki and Adam in their high-power jobs–the press conferences, the White House Correspondents dinner, the president’s first international tour. And in the interest of full disclosure (*wink wink*), I particularly enjoy my cameo in chapter 7!
Watching the tet-a-tet between (cousin) David and his Nubian princess Lisa is also really fun! I wouldn’t mind hearing more about what happens with their relationship…just saying 😉
But my favorite part is when Nicki joins Adam at home in Cambridge and she see’s his dad again. Nicki was also so sure that Professor Kincaid disapproved of her, and perhaps he did when they were in high school. But even Professor Kincaid can see that now, Adam and Nicki are in a perfect place to build a life together: “Such a pleasant girl…Take good care of my boy.”
So emotional, because they take care of each other. Just like Adam helped Nicki through a very difficult time, she’s able to repay the favor when he desperately needs it. And through it all, Nicki and Adam are finally able to admit the truth:
N: “I missed you…I missed you so much. For years, I missed you.”
A: “Nicki, I will never leave you again. Never. But you have to stay with me. Okay?”
N: “I’ll stay with you…always.”
I recommend the Beside Your Heart series to those who enjoy new adult/contemporary romance. You’ll really enjoy watching Nicki and Adam grow from high school sweethearts into a mature, adult relationship and all the joy and heartache that goes along with it. And I’ll be picking up book 3 because I *have* to see Adam’s POV!