Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Political Affair by Mary Whitney (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Mary Whitney, author of A Political Affair!







Author Guest Post


After this bitter election, the one thing I think everyone can agree on is to thank god it’s over! If we’re lucky, it will be another eighteen months before we begin the next round of nasty television and radio ads. Personally, I’m just happy to be able to answer my phone again.

It’s hard to see anything romantic about politics. Mud doesn’t make anyone look or smell good. Even when we’re out of the nasty election cycle, if we do hear of romance in politics, it isn’t sweet at all. It’s usually something tawdry, where more often than not, innocent families are hurt because of a politician’s hubris.

Yet we’re all easily drawn to elected officials—even those we don’t agree with on the issues. We see beyond our differences with some because they’re charismatic, funny, and passionate, and occasionally good looking. Kennedy and Reagan are two who usually come to mind.

So why do politicians end up in sex scandals more than your average person? The simple answer is that they don’t get out much, plus they’re so egotistical they think they get away with anything. Many of them spend most of their time with their staff rather than their family or friends. They’re idolized and don’t socialize like normal people. So in the tight quarters of an office with staff who would go through fire for you, passions can flare.

Despite all of that, I love politics, and I relish a good scandal. In writing A Political Affair, I wondered what would happen if the affair was actually a well-intentioned one. What if the pair truly loved one another? How could they get around their situation and actually grow a relationship? And how would the public react once it was disclosed in the middle of an election? I hope I’ve drawn a story that plays that out, while poking fun at the political world. After all, making fun of politicians is always good time, and they definitely deserve it!


About The Author


Even before she graduated from law school, Mary knew she wasn’t cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she’s spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.


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Book Review


 A Political Affair by Mary Whitney
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Publication Date: October 18, 2012
Format: Paperback - 284 pages / Kindle - 750 KB
ISBN: 161213128X
ASIN: B009RXBM8U
Genre: Contemporary Political Romance


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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.


Book Description:

No one expected Stephen McEvoy to fill his father’s U.S. Senate seat at such a young age, least of all him. The scion of a revered political dynasty, he’s appointed to the Senate after his father’s untimely death. Now he’s in a tough election battle against an archconservative. When clever Anne Norwood interns in his office, he dismisses her as another pretty face—until her independent streak catches his attention. She soon finds him far more interesting than his Senator McEvoy persona. They’re both too smart to fall for one another, yet they do. Their relationship becomes a political gamble in a tight election, and all the while, his opposition lies in wait for him to make a mistake. As Stephen’s past catches up with him, he and Anne must fight for their future. Their lives mean more than politics, and campaigns—like love—are either won or lost.


Book Excerpt:


For the next few weeks, Stephen avoided Anne as he’d promised Patty. With his busy schedule and large office, it was usually an easy thing to do. If he wasn’t rushed and he happened upon her, he’d acknowledge her with a nod and move on, but sometimes it was difficult.

Once he heard one of his legislative assistants call the ski resorts in West Virginia pathetic compared to those in Colorado.

“It doesn’t matter,” Anne replied. “I don’t go to resorts much anymore. I usually ski in the backcountry.”

As she chatted with the staffer, Stephen was tempted to join in the conversation. Biting his tongue, he kept about his business, but not without another side-eyed glance. He summed her up with one thought: She's really cool.

Despite his interest, he stayed away, until one day he noticed her alone in the copy room near his personal office. With some regret, he continued on his path down the hall, but the temptation proved too much. He backed up and peered into the small room. There she was—leaning on the counter as she studied a letter that bore his signature at the bottom. Her finger traced the page as she concentrated on each word.

After a quick look to make sure no one was nearby, he quietly stepped into the room. “What did I say this time?” he asked.

She jumped. “Oh! I didn’t hear you walk in. I’m sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.” He smiled to reassure her. “I asked about the letter. What did I say this time?”

“You mean, what did I say this time?” She returned his smile and waved the paper as if to bat him away. “I’m joking. I drafted a new form letter outlining your position on the deficit. This is the final version. I was just seeing what your legislative director kept of what I wrote.”

“And?”

“It’s pretty similar.”

“May I see?”

“Sure.” She handed him the letter.

Skimming through a paragraph, he concluded it was well written and persuasive.

As he nodded, she spoke, “The LD left in the part about how an extension of unemployment benefits actually grows the economy. I’m proud of that.” 

“Spoken like a true policy geek.” It was a dismissive statement, but he meant it as a compliment.

“I guess I am.” She shrugged awkwardly. “It’s always debate night at the Norwood dinner table. My brother never showed any interest in politics—he’s in med school now—so my dad talked to me because I kept up with things.” 

“Sounds like my family.” He smiled.

“Except I debate my parents. Everyone in your family agrees.”

“We do—for the most part.”

“Must be nice.” She rolled her eyes.

Stephen paused for a moment, quickly assessing the woman before him who was so different from the women he dated. He liked her irreverence, which she seemed to hold for everything, including her family and even him. Other than his own family, very few people treated him that way.

His eyes drifted from her face down to her shoulders and rested briefly on her small but perky chest. He imagined for a moment what her breasts might look like. Pleased with the image in his mind, he let his eyes wander upward. He noticed the cute freckles from years in the strong mountain sun dotting her nose and cheeks.

Finally, their eyes met again. He admired her flowerlike hazel irises, and the look in her eyes told him she’d noticed him checking her out. She lifted a brow as if to ask him what he was going to do next.

Normally, in such a moment, if he wanted to cut to the chase, he might ask the woman out. If he was really interested, he’d pay her a small compliment beforehand. With Anne, he wanted to tell her she was beautiful—simply to see if he could make her bashful.

Whatever he chose to do, he presumed she’d be receptive. Though she was young, her expression wasn’t innocent; it told him loud and clear any advance would be welcomed.

He took a breath of anticipation. Their connection was temptingly easy, but it was also unnerving, like he stood on a precipice with untold consequences. Maintaining his stare for a few more seconds, he debated those consequences—and stopped himself.

Passing back the letter, he broke her spell. “Good job,” he said softly. With an abrupt turn of his heel, he left the room, chiding himself for what he’d done. 

After Anne watched him pass through the door, she caught her breath while her mind swirled in confusion. Oh my God. What was that? It was a silly question because she knew what had happened. In that moment, Stephen McEvoy wanted her, and her rapid heartbeat was evidence of the connection she’d made with him.

Her eyes widened as she realized what it could mean, and she quickly reprimanded herself. Are you crazy?


My Book Review:

A Political Affair is the story of two people: Democratic U.S. Senator, Stephen McEvoy, and his intern, Anne Norwood, who fall in love under challenging and potentially scandalous circumstances.
 
Born into a political family dynasty, Senator Stephen McEvoy was groomed for the political life, but no one expected him to lead so soon, least of all him. After his father's sudden death, he's appointed to fill his seat. Now he must win a tough re-election against a conservative opponent.

Though Stephen is a ladies' man, he's never let his love life interfere with his career, until he meets his new intern, twenty-two year old Anne Norwood. At first, he dismisses her as just another pretty young thing. Stephen tries to steer clear of her, but with each interaction, an unspoken mutual attraction develops. Anne's independent streak and clever mind intrigue him, and she discovers there is something more interesting about Stephen than just his Senator McEvoy persona.

Stephen's family is committed to ensuring that their political dynasty remains successful, and they are just as committed to keeping the McEvoy Senate seat at any cost.

As Stephen's Senate race receives national attention and their feelings deepen, the political dangers increase. His conservative opposition is waiting to pounce on any misstep or faux pas. Stephen's past and their risky relationship is campaign fodder, and just like the election, their future together can be won or lost.

A Political Affair is an intriguing fast-paced political romance story that will captivate the reader from the start. Author Mary Whitney draws upon her knowledge and political experience to weave a fascinating tale of love, romance and politics within the hallowed city limits of Washington D.C. The author engages her readers to follow along with Stephen and Anne's relationship as it blossoms during a heated political campaign and election. I think the author does an amazing job of realistically portraying the human side of politics; with a gritty, salacious and romanticized insiders view.

Set in the panoramic historical city of Washington D.C., the story is told in the third person narrative with alternating points of view. Rich in detail and vivid description of Washington D.C.'s landmarks; the political inner workings of the federal government; the political intrigue of a spirited and heated political campaign and election; and a romance between a man and woman whose chemistry is undeniable, makes A Political Affair a fascinating story that transports the reader into the world of the political movers and shakers of our nation's capital.

The author has created a cast of characters who are realistic and believable people that the reader can relate to. I loved Stephen, he is an ideal man with flaws and imperfections that make him human and attractive. I also loved Anne, I thought that she is an intelligent, poised, smart and genuine young woman. I enjoyed how the author developed Stephen and Anne's relationship from an attraction into a friendship that blossomed into love.

With an engaging secondary cast of characters who are an integral part of the story; witty dialogue and interactions; and a captivating storyline that mixes romance with political intrigue, A Political Affair is a compelling and realistic story that immerses the reader into the political world that we rarely get to see.


RATING: 5 STARS *****





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