The Politics of Love
Is it possible to love across the political divide?Shelley Whitmore is a successful attorney, working on behalf of her Evangelical parents' faith-based organization, championing conservative values of individual liberty and limited government. Everything's totally fine, except that it really isn't. Shelley manages depression and crippling anxiety because of the secret she can never reveal: she's gay.Rand Thomas is a psychotherapist, transgender rights activist, and political liberal. Widowed and struggling with her wife's toxic parents, Rand isn't going to allow herself to love again.When Shelley and Rand meet in Manhattan, neither one expects to find that the other is exactly who they need.

The Politics of Love Details

TitleThe Politics of Love
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 14th, 2020
PublisherBold Strokes Books
ISBN-139781635556933
Rating
GenreRomance, LGBT, Contemporary, GLBT, Lesbian, Adult Fiction, Health, Mental Health, Fiction

The Politics of Love Review

  • Lex Kent
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 Stars. This was a good read. I actually think I enjoyed this more than I expected to. Politics, especially in this day and age, are so divisive that I had no idea how Jensen could make this storyline work. I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised and thought she did a good job. While this is Jensen’s second book, it is my first read by her. I think she shows a lot of promise and it makes me excited for her future books. This is a story about Rand, a therapist and liberal activist for the 3.75 Stars. This was a good read. I actually think I enjoyed this more than I expected to. Politics, especially in this day and age, are so divisive that I had no idea how Jensen could make this storyline work. I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised and thought she did a good job. While this is Jensen’s second book, it is my first read by her. I think she shows a lot of promise and it makes me excited for her future books. This is a story about Rand, a therapist and liberal activist for the LGBTQ+ community and Shelley a libertarian conservative lawyer who works for her father’s Evangelical organization. Shelley is sick of living her life in the closet and when she meets Rand she can’t help but be enamored by the kind of person she is. Maybe it is time for Shelley to live her own true life but is it possible for her to come out of her parent’s shadow? I was very curious how Jensen could possibly make such an opposites attract story. Plus there are not many conservative activist characters in lesfic and how would that work? Well surprise, guess what character I absolutely adored? Shelley the libertarian! While I disagreed with certain views, she was such a likeable character and so easy to root for. Instead the lesbian activist Rand was the unlikable one most of the time. I was watching Jensen on a panel today of BSB authors and she mentioned that she was having an issue with liking Rand’s character too. Luckily, Rand was more redeemable towards the end but I sure did not expect to like the character of Shelley so much more. While I really liked the plot of the book and how everything unfolded, I did have a few issues. They are pretty small in the grand scheme of things but I think I should mention them anyway. One was that the book felt a little short. The ending did not feel rushed but it was still over too quickly for my tastes. Just when I really got completely invested, it was over. My second issue was that I had some problems with certain dialogue. Choppy is not really the right word maybe more like staccato in form. Short clipped sentences in a row and sometimes the character would ask a question to someone else but they would keep talking right through it. Since I read reasonably fast, I found it would jar me out of the story at times. Also, when this happened I was not always sure who was talking so again I would have to stop and go back to reread the same part to figure it out. This was not a constant problem but it appeared a handful of times. I think having the characters banter back and forth more like word tennis and maybe some added dialogue tags would easily fix this. Jensen writes really well so if she fixed this issue for future books she would really be all set. If you are looking for a good opposites attract story I would definitely recommend this one. It was well done and more enjoyable than I expected. I’m now looking forward to reading Jensen’s debut ghost hunter book soon. I have a feeling I am going to enjoy it. An ARC was given to me for a honest review.
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  • Joc
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure how to impart my experience of this novel. I picked it up because I was intrigued by the politics and whether it was possible to like a lesbian Republican, or even see her point of view. My knowledge of American politics is very limited and simplistic. I imagined that the idiot in charge embodied the beliefs and policies of the Republicans. Shelley Whitmore meets Rand Thomas on a television debate around transsexual rights. Shelley is a lawyer working for her father’s evangelical or I'm not sure how to impart my experience of this novel. I picked it up because I was intrigued by the politics and whether it was possible to like a lesbian Republican, or even see her point of view. My knowledge of American politics is very limited and simplistic. I imagined that the idiot in charge embodied the beliefs and policies of the Republicans. Shelley Whitmore meets Rand Thomas on a television debate around transsexual rights. Shelley is a lawyer working for her father’s evangelical organization. She’s also smart, measured and suffers from anxiety. Rand didn’t expect the interview to go quite the way it did but had no hesitation in continuing the discussion after the debate. Rand is an activist and therapist.The story unfolds from the third person point of view alternating between Shelley and Rand. What I found interesting about it is that it’s almost like the narrator was picking up a snow globe, turning it around, giving the characters close look but then withdrawing and seeing how the particles settle. I think much of it is telling rather than showing but I wasn’t irritated or bored by it. I didn’t feel distanced from the characters. There are also strong dialogue based scenes and just as many where the dialogue seems oddly mundane.Shelley was a surprise. I was sure I wouldn’t like her at all but as it turned out, I adored her. Rand should have been easy to like but I could feel myself wanting to shake her. What this novel showed me is the many shades of grey in a person’s upbringing and beliefs. I think I’m more conservative in my views than perhaps a lesbian should be and I loved the depiction of how complicated it can all be as well as how simple it can be too.Book received from Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.
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  • Hsinju
    January 1, 1970
    Evangelical Republican attorney and writer Shelley Whitmore meets the liberal, transgender rights activist and psychotherapist Rand Thomas for an MSNBC show in Manhattan. The pair connects immediately with philosophical and political debates. But Shelley has yet to come to terms with her own sexuality and Rand is suffering constant harassment from her deceased wife's parents. With their values clashing and own problems to tend to, will Shelley and Rand be able to reach out to each other and buil Evangelical Republican attorney and writer Shelley Whitmore meets the liberal, transgender rights activist and psychotherapist Rand Thomas for an MSNBC show in Manhattan. The pair connects immediately with philosophical and political debates. But Shelley has yet to come to terms with her own sexuality and Rand is suffering constant harassment from her deceased wife's parents. With their values clashing and own problems to tend to, will Shelley and Rand be able to reach out to each other and build something more out of their friendship?It is now official. I always fall for emotionally intense stories. And I totally fell for The Politics of Love and felt every emotional struggle the characters were experiencing."We wrestle with the things we can’t explain easily, and from that struggle, we draw our faith and find love and hope." – ShelleyThough a conservative, Shelley shares many beliefs that most consider liberal. The opening of the book immediately touches on that so readers will be able to connect with her from the beginning. I love Rand's identity of a gender nonconforming female. We don't get to see that often. And the relationship between Shelley and Rand is well balanced. Both characters are strong, supportive, yet struggling and equally vulnerable. Rand's best friends Jamie and Rachel also add a lot of warmth to the story."To be loved, accepted, supported, and included for exactly who you are, with no expectation of change? I think it’s the best privilege there is." – RandI love how The Politics of Love is not just a romance, but also a story with great conversations that spark thoughts. The political discussions between Shelley and Rand are very constructive. Though not shown in depth, I love that they connect and build their relationship based on mutual admiration of intellect in addition to initial attraction. Despite their exchanges during the first year after they met are sparsely told in the book, as readers, we understand that a lot is implied and many things happen in life. I thought the gaps in time would bother me, but they did not. Jensen told the story in such a way that we see the strengthening of their connection anyway.The sentences are simple, and similes incredibly precise. The Politics of Love reads almost poetically. Jensen carefully used words to capture emotions, feelings, and something deeper. With both Shelley and Rand being very sensitive people, I immediately connected with them. There are many depictions of anxiety, depression, and OC tendencies, and through reading, I got sucked into what they were feeling. The despair and panic felt incredibly real.Something in the middle of her was frozen. The fire of grief and guilt was replaced with an iceberg. Somewhere on it, a polar bear was starving.Though there are minor hiccups from the narrative skipping details here and there, I love how Jensen's words made me feel and what they had me thinking. For a novel on the shorter end of word count, The Politics of Love absolutely out did what most books could achieve in 50k words. And I cannot wait to see what Jensen has for us in the future.The Politics of Love is a story about reclaiming your own identity and carrying on after loss. This beautiful work had my heart tingle in all the right places.Oh, and did you know that there is a playlist of Shelley and Rand on Jensen's website?I received an e-ARC from Bold Strokes Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Shelley Whitmore meets Rand Thomas in the MSNBC building in New York. They both have been picked to contribute to a segment on transgendered rights. Shelly represents her conservative, evangelical family who want limited government and individual liberty. Rand is for sure all the way on the left and advocates for transgendered rights. Both have their set of issues. Shelly is a lesbian in hiding and Rand is still dealing with her wife's death (for a few reasons).I have been debating in my head wh Shelley Whitmore meets Rand Thomas in the MSNBC building in New York. They both have been picked to contribute to a segment on transgendered rights. Shelly represents her conservative, evangelical family who want limited government and individual liberty. Rand is for sure all the way on the left and advocates for transgendered rights. Both have their set of issues. Shelly is a lesbian in hiding and Rand is still dealing with her wife's death (for a few reasons).I have been debating in my head what I wanted to say about The Politics of Love. I can honestly say that it did open my eyes someone to how a person can be gay and a Republican. I never got it before reading this book and I want to say Jen Jensen does a fabulous job putting it out there. With that said, the two mains clearly have chemistry, but there are too many obstacles in the way. Politics of Love moves quickly, but it still hits upon the key points in each person's life. Both mains grow a great deal, but Shelley really is the character to love here. She finds herself and embraces it even though there are sure consequences for her decisions. Rand probably would be the character to not like as much, but at least by the end she redeems herself. I can honestly say that I really enjoyed reading this. I can't give it 5 stars but can do with a 4.5.This arc was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
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  • elise (the petite punk)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.You know that Taylor Swift song where Miss Swift says "Baby, I miss you and I swear I'm gonna change, trust me." Remember how that lasted for a day? I say, "I hate you," we break up, you call me, "I love you." So yeah, basically that sums up this book, except the characters actually do get back together and there actually is change. Except I really didn't like that.The Politics of Love follows Shelley, an attorney Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.You know that Taylor Swift song where Miss Swift says "Baby, I miss you and I swear I'm gonna change, trust me." Remember how that lasted for a day? I say, "I hate you," we break up, you call me, "I love you." So yeah, basically that sums up this book, except the characters actually do get back together and there actually is change. Except I really didn't like that.The Politics of Love follows Shelley, an attorney, and Rand, a therapist and trans rights advocate. They're both queer and they both like each other, which is a seemingly unlikely occurrence given the fact that Rand is a liberal and Shelley is a closeted conservative. After adding this to the fact that Shelley has mental health issues and a family that she knows won't accept her real self and that Rand is grieving the loss of her wife, there's certainly some obstacles to Shelley and Rand's relationship. Although the premise was promising and the cover was gorgeous, I was admittedly disappointed in The Politics of Love for a few reasons. First, the pacing was just way too quick. I just wasn't convinced that Rand and Shelley could have fallen this hard for each other so quickly. I felt like a lot of the thoughts that these characters had about each other related to physical characteristics, which just wasn't something I particularly cared for. I also thought that some of the events didn't flow well. The structure felt like okay this happened, now moving on, okay now this happened, alright next, now this happened and so on. Furthermore, even though I read this book because of the political subject, I thought the message about politics was a little messy. At some point, I thought the author was trying to make the point that two people can love each other even if they have different beliefs...but then Shelley changes her political party. The line "I've updated my party affiliation to Independent. For you. Because I've heard you too." just didn't sit right with me. I didn't agree with Shelley's political views, but I think I would have liked to see a portrayal of individual growth, not an action "for you" aka Rand, which is more of a weird proclamation of love and sacrifice than an indication of actual change. I think the thing that bothered me the most was the writing. For an adult novel, this writing felt ridiculously underwhelming. I became hyperaware of the fact that nearly every sentence started with a noun--and most often a pronoun. Good writing will make you focus on what the words are conveying, not the order in which the words are written. It was incredibly distracting and did not flow at all. There was way too much tell instead of show, and something about the characters felt too surface-level. The Politics of Love was a quick queer romance centering around politics and acceptance, but overall, the characters and writing style fell flat.
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  • Rachel Brown
    January 1, 1970
    "In the other, we saw ourselves and were afraid. Host and hostile. Caught between a desire to welcome the other and destroy the other, humans struggled to compartmentalize the noisy confusion of a changing, connected world. They projected their worst fears on one another."Is it possible to love across the political divide?Shelley Whitmore is a famous attorney who works with her Republican Evangelical family's organization, including appearances on political TV shows. She is on a panel with Rand "In the other, we saw ourselves and were afraid. Host and hostile. Caught between a desire to welcome the other and destroy the other, humans struggled to compartmentalize the noisy confusion of a changing, connected world. They projected their worst fears on one another."Is it possible to love across the political divide?Shelley Whitmore is a famous attorney who works with her Republican Evangelical family's organization, including appearances on political TV shows. She is on a panel with Rand Thomas, a psychotherapist, transgender rights activist, and political liberal. This is the event that starts the book, and takes the reader along for Shelley and Rand's journeys of self-discovery, healing, and towards each other.This book is incredible, and not at all what I was expecting. I was prepared for a typical "opposites attract" fluff piece, but this was so much more. This was actually a really interesting character study of two very unique and compelling characters. The book deals with the divisiveness of our political climate, and how to connect as individuals. It also deals with the pain of coming out from an Evangelical background, healing after a traumatic loss, finding your own voice and sense of self. The romance is not actual the primary point, which made the book so much more interesting.I absolutely loved it. The characters are interesting and nuanced. They feel a lot like actual people. I actually tried to read the book slower, to extend the time I was spending with these characters, but wasn't able to put it down. Huge thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for the ARC. The book comes out in July and I think is well worth reading
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  • Aleana Harris
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley and voluntarily leaving my review.Shelly is a well known attorney who works on the behalf Evangelical parents faith-based organization. She has a secret she gay and she always known she was and because of keeping this a secrets she developed depression and anxiety. While on a talk show she meets Rand who is a psychotherapist and transgender right activist.While they connect Shelly realize she no longer can hide herself even if I received an ARC copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley and voluntarily leaving my review.Shelly is a well known attorney who works on the behalf Evangelical parents faith-based organization. She has a secret she gay and she always known she was and because of keeping this a secrets she developed depression and anxiety. While on a talk show she meets Rand who is a psychotherapist and transgender right activist.While they connect Shelly realize she no longer can hide herself even if it’s cause her everything and Rand who lost her wife never thought she will love again. This was a great read. I like how very thought out the writer did about what going in our political climate, also how you deal with being your true self.
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  • Landice (Manic Femme Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    "If I am who you want me to be," Shelley said, "I can't be who I am. It's killing me."★★★★☆The Politics of Love is a new, opposites attract lesbian romance novel by Jen Jensen, out July 14th from Bold Strokes Books. It follows two characters - Shelley Whitmore, a closeted lesbian who is sick of hiding who she is for the benefit of her powerful Evangelical Christian Republican family, and Rand Thomas, a therapist and prominent transgender rights activist - who first meet by way of a television ap "If I am who you want me to be," Shelley said, "I can't be who I am. It's killing me."★★★★☆The Politics of Love is a new, opposites attract lesbian romance novel by Jen Jensen, out July 14th from Bold Strokes Books. It follows two characters - Shelley Whitmore, a closeted lesbian who is sick of hiding who she is for the benefit of her powerful Evangelical Christian Republican family, and Rand Thomas, a therapist and prominent transgender rights activist - who first meet by way of a television appearance wherein they’re placed on opposite sides of a political debate.The romance between Shelley and Rand seemed at first like it would be fast moving, but then settled into a leisurely slow-ish burn pace for the majority of the novel. At times, the romance felt like an addendum to the larger, overarching themes of the book, but I didn’t mind that at all. I can appreciate when romance novels aim to be something “more”, and The Politics of Love does just that. I found both of the leads likable in their own way, for completely different reasons. There were absolutely a few times when I wanted to take Rand by her shoulders and shake her, but the angst felt logical, rather than unnecessarily inserted by the author to spice up the plot.To be totally honest, after I was approved for an ARC of The Politics of Love, I began to panic. “Why didn’t I just wait and read this on my own?” I groaned to my friend via Messenger. “Politics are so divisive right now, and this book has the potential to be a PR minefield!” “You’re overthinking,” she replied. “Just read the book.” So I did. And I loved it, and now that it’s over, I realized the irony of the entire situation. My own anxiety about reading a romance that crosses the political divide in our hyper-polarized society because of our hyper-polarized society is, in fact, peak irony. I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that I myself am a Democratic Socialist, but, like Shelley, I was born and raised in the Bible Belt, and have lived here for my entire life. My mother is a Baptist Sunday school teacher. I grew up going to church multiple times per week, hearing myself damned to hell by our fire and brimstone Southern Baptist preacher. I knew I was a lesbian from fourteen on, and cried myself to sleep each night, praying to at least be bisexual instead of a lesbian, so that I’d have a chance of falling in love with a man and making my family happy. So, unlike some other reviewers, I went into The Politics of Love fully expecting to identify with Shelley, the closeted gay Republican, at least on a base level, and I was not disappointed. At some points, I related to her inner dialogue so much that I was practically highlighting entire pages. I would be remiss not to mention that The Politics of Love also includes really excellent anxiety representation. As someone with multiple anxiety disorders, the way Jensen wrote Shelley’s anxiety really rang true for me.In the end, I think a lot of my worry about this book was unfounded. After seeing a lot of negative commentary accusing the YA M/M romance The State of Us of trying to humanize the Right without expecting them to humanize the LGBTQ+ community (and that’s not even touching the racism issues), I feared The Politics of Love might fall prey to the same mishaps, reworked for an adult audience, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was obvious that Rand and Shelley respected and learned from each other, genuinely finding middle ground on which to build their relationship. Final thoughts: The word politics might be in the title, but The Politics of Love was far from a manifesto or evangelism for either side of the aisle. Instead, it was a sweet, slightly angsty romance about finding love and acceptance in unexpected places. Let's be friends!Bookstagram | Book Blog | TwitterThe Politics of Love At A GlanceGenre: Contemporary RomanceThemes/Tropes: Opposites Attract, Age Gap (< 10 years), Coming Out, Slow burnLGBT Rep? Yes!OwnVoices? YepContent Warnings (CWs): Non-consensual public outing, homophobia, death of family member, griefARC Note: Thank you to Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    With political issues being at the forefront of every news broadcast a politically coloured book could not have come at a better time. I am not from the US so it is always hard for me to understand why there really are only two parties to choose from, In the Netherlands, I think I have my choice from at least 20. All of them all over the spectrum, there always is a party that ticks most boxes for you. You can also elect anyone from that party, we don't get stuck with one horrible choice. Anyway, With political issues being at the forefront of every news broadcast a politically coloured book could not have come at a better time. I am not from the US so it is always hard for me to understand why there really are only two parties to choose from, In the Netherlands, I think I have my choice from at least 20. All of them all over the spectrum, there always is a party that ticks most boxes for you. You can also elect anyone from that party, we don't get stuck with one horrible choice. Anyway, let's talk about the book.Shelley is a well known politcal figure. She is a lawyer and writer working for her father's evangelistic Republican Party supporting organisation. Shelley has always known she was different and didn't always agree with the standpoints of her parents, but lately, it's been taking too much of a toll on her. When she stumbles into Rand on the elevator on their way to a discussion for MSNBC she realises that she has to make changes. Rand is an activist, writer and psychologist, known for her support for the trans community. Shelley surprises Rand and the MSNBC host when she agrees with Rand's point of view and would need to do some more research. Rand and Shelley strike up an unusual friendship. They mail back and forth for a year on different topics, while both of them attend therapy sessions to work through personal issues. When Shelley finally comes out and her parents aren't supportive she decides to make more changes, quitting her job, moving to Phoenix, become more independent, letting go of her religion. Shelley and Rand connect in Phoenix, Shelley falls hard, but Rand is cautious. While they keep debating all aspects of life and spending all of their time together they aren't a couple. Could they overcome their very different beliefs and personal problems to become one?I liked how the book showed both sides of the argument and showed respect for both sides, as it should be in a debate. You don't have to agree, but you have to respect, even if it is ridiculous to you. I liked the story and politics, but I didn't care much for either of the main characters. I think I have to credit the writing for me still being able to enjoy the book. This book shows that a well-written story doesn't necessarily have to have characters you like. The ending was unexpected for me as well, I was expecting a full-blown HEA, but it wasn't. It was happy, but not necessarily forever, just for the time, could go either way. It fit the story quite well.*ARC received in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Bonnie
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book I’ve read that starts in the studio’s of MSNBC. I’ve read books that have CNN as a starting place but… Rand Thomas, or perhaps I should say Doctor Thomas, is an activist fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community. She is dedicated and is more than willing to speak up on these issues. A few years have passed since she lost her wife to cancer and she has yet to meet anyone that made her take a second look. Imagine her surprise when she finds herself intrigued by a perso This is the first book I’ve read that starts in the studio’s of MSNBC. I’ve read books that have CNN as a starting place but… Rand Thomas, or perhaps I should say Doctor Thomas, is an activist fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community. She is dedicated and is more than willing to speak up on these issues. A few years have passed since she lost her wife to cancer and she has yet to meet anyone that made her take a second look. Imagine her surprise when she finds herself intrigued by a person like Shelley. Shelley Whitmore has always done what her parents wanted, including working within the faith based organization led by her parents pushing the country to follow more conservative values. Like limiting the right of the trans community. The problem is that these goals are not what Shelley believes but it’s easier to just go along with their agenda. The only good thing was travelling throughout the country giving her a chance to explore the world that she herself wanted to be a part of. She has known from an early age that she wasn't what her family would want for her. She’s a very deep in the closet lesbian. While Shelley’s character is someone that you find yourself liking despite her views or I should say her parents views on the LGBTQ’s community. She's smart and even though she has been in the spotlight for years representing her family’s concerns, you still find yourself cheering her for trying to finally live her life. On the other hand Rand is a little harder character to like. Rand has problems that she can’t seem to break free from including her late wife's parents. When she meets Shelley she is taken by Shelley’s willingness to look at the issues of LGBTQ community from a different angle. First time I’ve read Ms Jensen’s and after this book I look forward to reading more of her works. A little choppy when it came to the dialogue but the story was worth a few minor hiccups . A very nice read.ARC via NetGalley/ Bold Stroke Books.
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  • Sónia
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Sadly this one was a miss for me.I was super intrigued by the premise of people who supported opposite parties (Republican and Democrat) finding a common ground in loving each other. Sharing different view yet becoming romantically involved.And I guess it delivered what it promised, but in such a dispassionate and bland way that I struggled to push through it - keep in mind this is a super short book and i I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Sadly this one was a miss for me.I was super intrigued by the premise of people who supported opposite parties (Republican and Democrat) finding a common ground in loving each other. Sharing different view yet becoming romantically involved.And I guess it delivered what it promised, but in such a dispassionate and bland way that I struggled to push through it - keep in mind this is a super short book and it took me 5 days to finish it.My least favourite thing is probably the structure. It doesn’t flow well and has a lot of breaks. It doesn’t help that the pacing is awfully quick and we get told what happens instead of shown. I didn’t like the romance. And, again, it’s because of the pacing. We go from the first time they meet to a year later. That wouldn’t be a problem if we then saw their relationship building up slowly. But that’s not what happens. We are told that during that year they shared emails consistently, which is cute, but we don’t see them interact much until Shelley decides to move to Arizona, where Rand lives, to be closer to her... I also didn’t feel like they had any chemistry other than when they first met. Rand also got on my nerves when she kept leading Shelley on just to turn her down.The only thing I enjoyed about this book was Jamie and Rachel.
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  • Jasmine
    January 1, 1970
    Shelly is a lawyer and conservative, daughter of famous evangelical. She often makes the rounds on nightly news and talk shows, offering conservative opinions. But one conversation with Rand who is a transgender rights activist and psychotherapist starts a domino effect on her life. Her attraction to the other woman and her opening opinions has her confronting her sexuality and her politics. Things moved along really quickly in the beginning and I wasn't sure how the author was going to run with Shelly is a lawyer and conservative, daughter of famous evangelical. She often makes the rounds on nightly news and talk shows, offering conservative opinions. But one conversation with Rand who is a transgender rights activist and psychotherapist starts a domino effect on her life. Her attraction to the other woman and her opening opinions has her confronting her sexuality and her politics. Things moved along really quickly in the beginning and I wasn't sure how the author was going to run with it, but the author did an amazing job and created so much room for growth in Rand and Shellys lives and in their relationship. I loved the thoughtful and educated conversations between Shelly and Rand, it really added to Shelly's character and helped the reader understand her better. I really wasn't sure how a conservative and a liberal were going to work out but I think the author did a good job, and created a really interesting and eye opening story. I really enjoyed Shelly's character, she was empathetic and intelligent and sweet and all around likeable. The story was well balanced and nuanced and I enjoyed it a lot. I really enjoyed the writing style of this author and while this is my first book by the author I'm sure it won't be the last.I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rianne
    January 1, 1970
    This is a hard book to rate, because I really enjoyed the first half, but found myself struggling to finish it. We follow Rand, a democrat therapist, and Shelley, an ex-evangelical Republican lawyer, as they intertwine themselves into each other's lives. It is a love story, but also not, because it takes so long for Rand to stop shutting Shelley out. There were some chapters that felt very disjointed, as if there was a chapter missing in between, and the timeline felt very confusing. Some moment This is a hard book to rate, because I really enjoyed the first half, but found myself struggling to finish it. We follow Rand, a democrat therapist, and Shelley, an ex-evangelical Republican lawyer, as they intertwine themselves into each other's lives. It is a love story, but also not, because it takes so long for Rand to stop shutting Shelley out. There were some chapters that felt very disjointed, as if there was a chapter missing in between, and the timeline felt very confusing. Some moments the characters acted as if they barely knew each other, and others they thought about the countless emails they had sent each other over the last year and how much they knew about each other. What I did like about this was the political aspect, the discussion of both democrat and republican American politics without the author picking a clear side. However, the pacing of this novel left me feeling like it dragged on, so I can't give it more than 3 stars.
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  • Stacy Bruton
    January 1, 1970
    The Politics of Love by Jen Jensen really surprised me. Not only did we get a ton of character growth, no big misunderstandings during the romance, but we also got a very smart look into how to make a relationship work with contradicting stances on very big topics. I loved how the author was able to fluidly bring in clashing political arguments from both a very conservative side as well as a very liberal side and explain the issues between Shelley and Rand with very fleshed out and coherent thou The Politics of Love by Jen Jensen really surprised me. Not only did we get a ton of character growth, no big misunderstandings during the romance, but we also got a very smart look into how to make a relationship work with contradicting stances on very big topics. I loved how the author was able to fluidly bring in clashing political arguments from both a very conservative side as well as a very liberal side and explain the issues between Shelley and Rand with very fleshed out and coherent thoughts that supported both sides without the book just being a constant debate. The ideas are smart and logical and well researched and added to the story without making the entire story about political ideologies. More so than that, both characters have big personal triumphs that they overcome. Shelley comes to terms with the fact that she is gay and her ideologies do not align with her evangelical parents and Rand comes to terms with her grief of realizing she was not in love with her partner Kim before she died and had wanted a divorce but stayed with Kim until the end. Thank you to Bold Strokes Books for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review. I will definitely be purchasing this book once it comes out.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the help of NetGalley I have been working on expanding the genres that I read. Romance is not a genre I usually gravitate towards, but a goal of mine this year is to choose my books more deliberately and make sure I am supporting all voices. Well let me tell you, I love this story. I love Shelly, I love Rand - I love every moment that these two independent women show their strengths and weaknesses. I love the way politics are effortlessly woven into a story that educates you, breaks yo Thanks to the help of NetGalley I have been working on expanding the genres that I read. Romance is not a genre I usually gravitate towards, but a goal of mine this year is to choose my books more deliberately and make sure I am supporting all voices. Well let me tell you, I love this story. I love Shelly, I love Rand - I love every moment that these two independent women show their strengths and weaknesses. I love the way politics are effortlessly woven into a story that educates you, breaks your heart, and then puts it back together again. I absolutely adore this story. CW: homophobia
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    3 stars. Shelley Whitmore is an attorney and a strong advocate for the Republican party. Her Evangelical parents are famous for their support of the Republican party and its values. She becomes somewhat unsure of some of her values after meeting Rand Thomas, a psychotherapist and activist. Rand and Shelley have an instant connection that neither of them want to accept, even after spending a year emailing back and forth every day. This book was good, but not great. I felt like the changes for She 3 stars. Shelley Whitmore is an attorney and a strong advocate for the Republican party. Her Evangelical parents are famous for their support of the Republican party and its values. She becomes somewhat unsure of some of her values after meeting Rand Thomas, a psychotherapist and activist. Rand and Shelley have an instant connection that neither of them want to accept, even after spending a year emailing back and forth every day. This book was good, but not great. I felt like the changes for Shelley happened too fast and Rand was a little too afraid of everything. I did not like that aspect of the book and it ruined it a little for me. I really liked Shelley's character and I enjoyed her journey but it seemed to happen pretty quickly throughout the book. I did enjoy this book. I read it in one day., but it was just an average novel. I would recommend this maybe to someone who enjoys the author.
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  • Sullivanjudyl
    January 1, 1970
    This book is amazing! The author is very talented. Can’t wait to read more from her!
  • LesReview
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!! This is a fantastic book and it was totally not what I was expecting. Shelly Whitmore is a well known attorney and works on behalf of her Evangelical parents faith-based organization but she’s gay. She’s always known that she was but to keep this secret to herself she developed severe anxiety and depression. She meets Rand Thomas who is a psychotherapist and transgender right activist on a talk show and they somehow connect. Shelly realizes that she can no longer keep her true self hidden Wow!! This is a fantastic book and it was totally not what I was expecting. Shelly Whitmore is a well known attorney and works on behalf of her Evangelical parents faith-based organization but she’s gay. She’s always known that she was but to keep this secret to herself she developed severe anxiety and depression. She meets Rand Thomas who is a psychotherapist and transgender right activist on a talk show and they somehow connect. Shelly realizes that she can no longer keep her true self hidden even at the cost of losing the love of her family. Rand lost her wife to cancer 3 years prior and she has never felt for anyone, including her wife, the way she feels for Shelly. Born and raised in a very conservative household where I was told daily that being gay was a sin and like the MC Shelly did not come out till later in life even though I always knew I was gay. These character, especially Shelly, really touched me because I truly felt where she was coming from and her struggle to finally be herself.I was given this ARC via NetGalley and publisher for an honest review. Many Thanks!
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  • Dionne (HeyoitsDeej)
    January 1, 1970
    I'd like to thank NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for giving me an E-ARC for an exchange of an honest review.Truly a great story that tackles a lot about not just coming from different political views but also on different lifestyles. I enjoyed the refreshing read because it is way out of my comfort zone. I don't usually read Political related themes in books, but I find Politics of Love amazing. Full Review on this to follow.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    What an amazing book for such political times. I fell in love with all of the characters. I want a book for Jamie and Rachel! Jensen has a way of seeing both sides of politics. I felt for both characters and wanted them to be happy. I think this book is a good read for everyone paying attention to the world right now. It’s not just a romance, it’s a meditation on life in a highly political world. Have you unfriended someone due to republican rants? Read this book. Have trouble visiting family du What an amazing book for such political times. I fell in love with all of the characters. I want a book for Jamie and Rachel! Jensen has a way of seeing both sides of politics. I felt for both characters and wanted them to be happy. I think this book is a good read for everyone paying attention to the world right now. It’s not just a romance, it’s a meditation on life in a highly political world. Have you unfriended someone due to republican rants? Read this book. Have trouble visiting family due to political debates? Read this book. It’s a total game changer.
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  • Hollie
    January 1, 1970
    What is a more relevant modern-day interpretation of Romeo & Juliet, than a Democrat & Republican love-story?I was pleasantly surprised by The Politics of Love. Before reading this book, I really had no inclination to read anything LGBT+ related from a Republican viewpoint. (Disclaimer: I am not American and so do not belong to either the Democrat or Republican party). I started the book ready to give up on it at any moment. But I didn't. That is indicative of how the characters and their develo What is a more relevant modern-day interpretation of Romeo & Juliet, than a Democrat & Republican love-story?I was pleasantly surprised by The Politics of Love. Before reading this book, I really had no inclination to read anything LGBT+ related from a Republican viewpoint. (Disclaimer: I am not American and so do not belong to either the Democrat or Republican party). I started the book ready to give up on it at any moment. But I didn't. That is indicative of how the characters and their developments are written; and the fact that there are indeed developments.The story constantly switches perspective between Rand and Shelley which is refreshing as both are very different people and we therefore get to understand them both better. Additionally, SPOILER, the novel does end happily without being too incendiary or divisive by having both characters meet in the middle and become Independents. Although it could feel like a safe option it does make sense for who the characters turn out to be. Instead of a safe option, I would say it was the more palatable option. Additionally, Jensen shows us more than once that Shelley is not one of those Republicans, but instead was Republican because she believed in small government and individual liberty.  In Chapter 2, she even voices support for the trans community live on a talk show. (Which is a nice surprise). This makes any wary reader more willing to see where her story goes. The author gives ample time and respect to both sides. I did not like Rand so much at the beginning either, but grew to eventually like her too. As the book progresses and we see more backstory and personality, the two protagonists become less like caricatures and more like actual people. There is growth.One of the criticisms I had was that events in the book seemed to move too fast. If the book had a few extra chapters there might be more space to breathe, more time to bond with all of the characters and to come to terms with their thoughts and actions. Another criticism is that the Acknowledgements essentially tells us before the book begins "#NotAllRepublicans", which is going to repel a lot of potential readers (as it nearly did me). I understand what the author was trying to do but this can be rather off-putting. The recent political climate is so inflammatory and while a "let's give people the benefit of the doubt" message would otherwise be noble, here, it risks alienating and upsetting many readers even before the book begins. One of the characters may be Republican, but the reader understands straightaway that she is questioning the party, her sexuality, and her entire life. The Acknowledgements section beforehand doesn't really reflect this.Overall, I do recommend The Politics of Love. The characters are interesting, the story is relatable for many of us, and its relevance to our times makes this an engaging and thought-proving read.
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  • Gabriella Lis
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for the ARC of this book. I'd been wanting to read a political romance for a while, and I think this one was well done. I was unsure of how I'd react to Shelley, who comes from an Evangelical Republican family, but she was the standout character for me. Her personal growth arc throughout this book was wonderful to witness, and I was strongly rooting for her. Rand, the Democratic activist, was also likable, though not without issues. Shelley and Rand Thank you to NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for the ARC of this book. I'd been wanting to read a political romance for a while, and I think this one was well done. I was unsure of how I'd react to Shelley, who comes from an Evangelical Republican family, but she was the standout character for me. Her personal growth arc throughout this book was wonderful to witness, and I was strongly rooting for her. Rand, the Democratic activist, was also likable, though not without issues. Shelley and Rand have erudite conversations and for the most part are great at listening to each other. This book isn't necessarily a fluffy, escapist romance -- I like those kinds of stories, too, but this one had more angst. This book also wasn't a formulaic romance novel, which was refreshing. The Politics of Love had potential to be a five-star book, but I had three major gripes: 1. There was so much head-hopping in the last ten-ish percent of this book, which was jarring. 2. I felt like Shelley's arc was fully realized, whereas Rand's was lacking. I would have liked a bit more focus on Rand's growth at the end of the book. 3. There's one scene near the end of the book where Rand tries to show how much she cares for Shelley, and...I don't want to give too much away, but I thought Rand's move was lazy, performative, and flat-out unnecessary. Overall, I enjoyed this read and will be looking forward to more from Jen Jensen.
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  • Charkie
    January 1, 1970
    Two women, an Evangelical conservative and a transgender rights activist, meet when an interview about a transgender bill doesn't go as anyone planned.Rand: Widowed and suffering from guilt towards her wife she's struggling with survivors remorse. Shelley: Growing up in a conservative and religious environment left Shelley suffering from crippling anxiety due to not being able to live as herself. Shelley is intelligent, and loves reading and learning new things.Pro:Interesting premise - By havin Two women, an Evangelical conservative and a transgender rights activist, meet when an interview about a transgender bill doesn't go as anyone planned.Rand: Widowed and suffering from guilt towards her wife she's struggling with survivors remorse. Shelley: Growing up in a conservative and religious environment left Shelley suffering from crippling anxiety due to not being able to live as herself. Shelley is intelligent, and loves reading and learning new things.Pro:Interesting premise - By having a lesbian christian republican Jensen already makes this plot unique. I like the political side of this book very much. Well described anxiety and coping mechanisms - Living with anxiety often come with different coping mechanisms. I find Shelleys to be very realistic, and it's well written.Con:Unnecessary drama - I loved the first half of this book, and was very sad when Rand acted as she did. Even though it's understandable due to the remorse she's feeling, I found it unnecessarily cruel and unforgivable. How Shelley handles it doesn't feel real considering how much anxiety has affected her for a long time. It left me with a numb feeling after finishing the book, and greatly reduced my reading pleasure.This review is based on NetGalley ARC provided in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.
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  • Harshpreet
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did. The book is about a Republican and a Democrat falling for each other, and they're not just any random people -- they are people of political importance. So, they have to deal with the fall-out as well. They had to change their perspectives. You would think that this political saga would take place amidst debates and Twitter feuds, but it doesn't. It shows us the life of people who participate in anything related to politics -- which I somet I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did. The book is about a Republican and a Democrat falling for each other, and they're not just any random people -- they are people of political importance. So, they have to deal with the fall-out as well. They had to change their perspectives. You would think that this political saga would take place amidst debates and Twitter feuds, but it doesn't. It shows us the life of people who participate in anything related to politics -- which I sometimes forget exists -- the book shows the characters being vulnerable and uncertain and confused, and I think that's beautiful.People are self-aware in this book. They know they are privileged and they know when they are being, well, a prick. They know when they need to ask for help. And they figure out when they need to speak up. And how not to hold back emotions. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me this ARC, in exchange of my honest opinion.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 stars. All in all, I enjoyed this book. I appreciated the political/religious thread throughout having been raised much like Shelley, though I saw the Democratic light in early adulthood. Most of the characters were enjoyable and engaging. In the beginning I was sure I was going to root for Rand and not like Shelley much, but by a third of the way in it was totally reversed. Rand felt immature and selfish. Her marital history was tragic but how she handled it felt over done and forced, like 3.75 stars. All in all, I enjoyed this book. I appreciated the political/religious thread throughout having been raised much like Shelley, though I saw the Democratic light in early adulthood. Most of the characters were enjoyable and engaging. In the beginning I was sure I was going to root for Rand and not like Shelley much, but by a third of the way in it was totally reversed. Rand felt immature and selfish. Her marital history was tragic but how she handled it felt over done and forced, like the book needed a dramatic arch so one was manufactured. Shelley's journey felt far more authentic. Rachel and Jamie were almost scene stealers in this book. I'd love a book written for them, each or together. They were great characters. I liked this author's first book Jamis Bachman, Ghost Hunter better, but this was a good read too. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jodie Moone
    January 1, 1970
    Rated 4 out of 5What a wonderful read with outstandingly likeable characters. Having next expected to sympathise with Shellie, who holds (or her father) holds very radical beliefs on LGBTQ+ I didn’t expect to fall so hard for Shellie. But, I did. Having a story written with the romantic female leads from opposing sides of life was both interesting, and well done. Each character got a chance to shine. I wasn’t so sure I’d be so invested in a politics based story, especially having no interest in Rated 4 out of 5What a wonderful read with outstandingly likeable characters. Having next expected to sympathise with Shellie, who holds (or her father) holds very radical beliefs on LGBTQ+ I didn’t expect to fall so hard for Shellie. But, I did. Having a story written with the romantic female leads from opposing sides of life was both interesting, and well done. Each character got a chance to shine. I wasn’t so sure I’d be so invested in a politics based story, especially having no interest in it, but the lesbian story was what I came for. But, Jenson again surprised me, having me invested from the get go, making it near impossible to put down. My own dislike is how sharply it ended, that sometimes it felt I was told rather than showed. This didn’t overall impact my love for it, still rating it a strong four, but it’s the reason for the last star.ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, sometimes opposites attract more than we give them credit for. Not saying that the difference is not only on political part, but everything in between.I think this is first type of story like this where I wanted to know how all got resolved. Some issues were more involved and at times make or brake situations. Loved the fact, both parties could compromise. I admire that very much.
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  • Leigh
    January 1, 1970
    Great characters, great story, and great entertainment. You won’t be disappointed if you read this book!
  • Becky Jensen
    January 1, 1970
    I found the book to very interesting. The author creates a great plot and made the characters political debate very believable. The book was one of the best I have read in a long time.
  • Chrissie O'Brien
    January 1, 1970
    Loved how Shelley and Rand had different views on politics, but didn't get aggressive towards each other about it. They were able to have conversations about their different views and listened and learned from each other, will also accepting that they have different opinions and not letting that get in the way (Rand got there at the end).
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