Let me get this out of the way right at the top: I don’t like politics. I never really have. That was a tough row to hoe when I was living with a mother and grandmother who spent about 75% of their waking hours watching or talking politics.
Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean I ignore politics. Not at all. I have to pay attention to it because, you see, I vote. And if I’m going to vote intelligently, I have no choice but to pay attention to politics. And, being a lesbian, I have a lot at stake in the political world. So, yeah…I don’t like it, but I pay attention to it.
So, as you can imagine, when I read the blurb for Love Is Enough by Cindy Rizzo, I was a little apprehensive. “Oh, am I in for a bunch of political mumbo jumbo?” You see, I dislike mumbo jumbo even more than I dislike politics.
Fortunately, my concerns were unfounded. Political mumbo jumbo was decidedly lacking in Rizzo’s novel.
Angie Antonelli has the life she’s always dreamed of—a promising political career, a supportive family, and great friends. The one thing missing is what she always hoped she’d have by now, a committed relationship with the woman of her dreams.
Jan Clifford has been taking a break from women while she figures out how to create a life that is more fulfilling than the country club set of her parents and her job in the family’s investment firm.
When Angie and Jan are set up on a blind date, the chemistry is immediate, but each wonders if she can really fit into the other’s world. Can the politician who fights for the little guy make things work with the investment manager who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth?
Before it has time to get very far, this new relationship will be put to the test. First, Angie must decide how she really feels when her first love suddenly comes back into her life. And then the worlds of politics and finance collide when Jan refuses to walk away from a business deal that threatens Angie’s re-election to a second term in Congress.
Can this intense connection they feel keep Angie and Jan together? Only hopeless romantics believe that love is enough, right?
Love Is Enough is decidedly a Romance. Rizzo includes just enough about politics and its consequences to keep things interesting and to provide appropriate conflict. But the focus, overall, is on the romance between Angie And Jan. Excellent! I get really irritated when a book is supposed to be a Romance and ends up being anything but. When the politics do come into play, the reader isn’t bogged down with the mumbo jumbo I spoke of earlier. Rizzo keeps the information “common” enough for the average Jo(sephine) to be engaged and not feel overwhelmed. When necessary, Rizzo provided explanations and descriptions of more complex political concepts and constructs. And those concepts and constructs were always necessary to further the romance and/or conflict.
With one exception (in my mind), all of the characters were likable and presented well. As should be expected, Angie and Jan were fully three-dimensional. I felt I was given the opportunity to really get to know the two main characters in great detail – who they were, what made them tick, their strengths, their weaknesses. At the same time, they weren’t predictable. I couldn’t telegraph what they were going to say or do next. I like that. Angie and Jan both grew and developed over the course of the novel in ways that were both expected and unexpected. But, ultimately, they grew in ways that were appropriate for each of them. By the end of the novel, Angie and Jan were more complete than they were at the beginning. The secondary characters, too, were nicely drawn out and each played an integral part in the story. Robin and Hadley were, by far, my favorites among the secondary characters. They were witty and charming and each had a great backstory of her/his own. The only character that I found lacking, and perhaps this was by design, was Nicky. She definitely had a big part in the novel – both in past and present events affecting the story. But she didn’t seem to grow or change in any way. I wonder, had it not been for Maria, would Nicky have gotten involved in Angie’s campaign at all? That was a loose end for me – what exactly was Nicky’s relationship with everyone in the end? Did she really come around? Or was it all about staying in Maria’s good graces? I couldn’t really tell.
The idea of “love at first sight” is always a difficult one for me to fully wrap my brain around. I’m sure it exists out there…somewhere…right? There have to be people in this world who look at each other across the proverbial “crowded room” and know, right there, right then, that they’ve found a soulmate. Right? Hmmm. Maybe I’m just jaded. But, you know what? That’s reality. And we’re not dealing with reality here. We’re dealing with Romantic Fiction. I don’t know about you, but I read Romantic Fiction to break free from reality. To consider what is possible. To experience – albeit vicariously – the fairy tale. So, yeah, I can buy into the instant attraction between Angie and Jan. The giddy feelings. The sudden inability to form a coherent sentence. The fluttery stomachs. The need to be near each other. The handy thing is that Rizzo still left them room to grow into their romance. She allowed them to learn about each other and themselves in the midst of their “I’m just so happy I don’t know what to do with myself” feelings.
Of course, just when things start looking perfect, everything goes to Hell. The conflicts Angie and Jan have to face start coming at a fast and furious rate. I’ll be honest, at first I was thinking, “Oh my God! Again? Really? All of this in such a short period of time? REALLY? Come ON!” But, you know what? Yeah. That could definitely happen when you consider the worlds Angie and Jan inhabit. Things don’t move slowly in Angie’s world of campaigns and policies. We all know what it’s like to “play politics” in our own worlds – whether it be at school or work. But Angie had to “play politics” IN the political world! Whoa. And poor Jan was already conflicted about her place in her world of old money and family legacies before she even met Angie. So, sure, things were bound to collide and explode. Though the shear amount of conflict seemed overwhelming, Rizzo did a nice job of making each conflict plausible.
This was a well-written novel with detailed descriptions and believable dialogue. Each character had her or his own distinct voice. If I were to pick at something, it would be some of the repetitiveness that happens throughout the novel. It’s very clear that what happened between Angie and Nicky 14 years earlier had a profound effect on Angie’s life. We learn about those earlier events via a number of different characters. However, rather than learning about different parts of those past events from different characters, we’re told almost exactly the same story. It makes it very easy to skim past those parts of the novel – which I don’t think is the intention. There are also times when Angie or Jan harken back to something in their own relationship – something that, as readers, we’ve already experienced – and rather than simply making reference to that previous event, much of the dialogue is repeated. Again, this becomes “skim-able” material because we were there when it happened the first time. Rizzo may have made these choices deliberately. Or they may have happened organically. Personally, I didn’t feel the repetitiveness was necessary. Others may feel very differently. And that’s totally cool.
Overall, this is a really, really nice romance. I read it twice within a week. That’s a good sign for me. I usually put more distance between my readings of the same book. So, if you haven’t had the opportunity to read Love Is Enough, I recommend you take the time to do so. With candidates beginning to throw their hats in the ring for the 2016 elections, Love Is Enough is, after all, pretty timely.