Book Review: Private Politics by Emma Barry

With Private Politics, the second in her The Easy Part series of contemporary romances, author Emma Barry shows us that the only place she’s going is up.

carina_0914_9781426898914_privatepoliticsNew York socialite Alyse Philips is not the airhead people take her for-she’s great at convincing D.C.’s rich and powerful to open their wallets. Never one to coast on her family’s connections, her real dream is to help charities in a bigger way. Before she can pursue her ambitions, she discovers a money-laundering scandal that’s got her signature all over it. If Alyse can’t clear her name, she’ll never work in nonprofits again.

Political blogger Liam Nussbaum has been pining after Alyse for six months, certain she’d never go for a quiet guy like him. Helping her with the investigation is a no-brainer. But going up against a seedy network of money and influence isn’t just a romantic opportunity or a chance to grab the headline that will take him into the big time-it’s a gamble that could destroy his blog’s reputation.

As Liam and Alyse dig deeper, their hearts collide alongside their ambition. Will they choose love or politics? Because in Washington, everything comes at a price.

New author Emma Barry set a high bar for herself with last year’s first installment of The Easy Part series, Special Interests. That excellent novel showed that politics and love can mix. It also showed that Barry has an extensive knowledge of the contemporary political scene that is oftentimes just as fascinating as the budding romance.

The same holds true in her second novel, Private Politics, out on September 8, which finds us again in the world of Washington, D.C. This time we’re following Alyse Philips as she negotiates a possible career-destroying scandal and a possible heart-destroying romance.

Barry gives us an interesting nearly -suspense plot in this book that works very well. The tension runs high throughout the story as Alyse finds herself unwittingly at the center of a possible money-laundering scandal. This felt like something that could really happen. I liked that Alyse acted like most of us would act in the situation: a bit scared for her job and reputation, a bit indignant at being set up, and a bit like James Bond. (Well, maybe some of us can only dream that we’d act like James Bond in Alyse’s situation.)

Along for the ride — and accomplice in the James Bond stuff — is Liam Nussbaum, who’s not only looking for a big story to kick his political blog up into the ranks of the first tier, but also looking to impress Alyse. Liam’s been in love with Alyse for six months but knows that she’ll never even give him the time of day. I really liked that Liam was a nice guy who truly did not expect his status as “nice guy” to get him anywhere. He hopes, of course, that Alyse will like him, but he never pushes her.

Their romance moves as quickly as the scandal, but both feel germane to the setting. Things move fast in politics. Things move fast in love. Alyse and Liam jump into something they both want, but then get scared of how fast they’ve moved. The timing seems bad. What they have to discover together is that in the world they live in, timing will always be bad, and if they want to be together, they have to make it work.

Luckily, they figure out these lessons sooner rather than later. That made this impatient reader happy. Romances that throw false obstacles in the way simply to drive up page count for the story are a big pet peeve. Barry manages to craft a romance that moves quickly, contains realistic emotions, and has some (very) sexy bits that work well & feel authentic.

Private Politics is a great story, one that I read in a long and wonderful afternoon. I highly recommend it! (And you don’t have to have read the first one to get on board with this one.)

Private Politics is officially out on September 8, but you can order it now. Or read the first book, Special Interests!

5 out of 5

* I received an advance review copy of this book from the author. *


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