Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Candidate by Tracey Richardson

Publisher:            Bella Books

The Candidate couldn't be more topical or present a more controversial idea in this year of political firsts. What would you do if you were the first serious female candidate for President of the United States and discovered during the campaign that you love a woman? 

Jane Kincaid has all of the credentials she needs to be President – beauty, intelligence, a distinguished career as a doctor, an electrifying career as a Senator and she's the scion of a respected political family. She has been driving towards this goal for much of her adult life and her Blueprint for America is setting crowds on fire. She has no personal life to distract her. Since her husband's death in a plane crash years ago, she's focused on nothing but her service to the people of the United States and that suits her fine. Unfortunately, her high profile as a candidate means she has to have protection from the Secret Service and that necessitates a female agent being assigned to her.

Agent Alex Warner isn't sure she's any happier about the assignment than the candidate until they meet. Alex is immediately impressed with Jane's down to earth personality and dedication to improving the country. Jane can't help but admire Alex's natural humility and her heroism. The women find themselves becoming fast friends as Alex slips into the role of advisor as well as protector.

As the campaign progresses, Jane finds she cannot focus on her task without Alex present and that becomes the problem. When the women realize they have developed feelings for each other the timing couldn't be worse. Jane is fighting a hard enough battle as a woman. She can't add the extra complication of being a lesbian. She doesn't want to give up Alex, but her life has been dedicated to one path. Suddenly she appears to be looking down two paths that run in different directions. Can she be satisfied following one, but not the other? Is the country ready to accept both? Just how much are they willing to tolerate from their golden girl?

Tracey Richardson has written her story with considerable skill. The personalities of the characters are well defined in the beginning, but also are allowed to change as their relationship progresses and the women don't fall in love immediately, but grow into a realization of their feelings over an appropriate amount of time. 

The dilemma Jane faces is also handled very realistically. For someone who wants to be president, outing herself couldn't be more impossible. Readers shouldn't expect her to simply throw away her political dreams for an opportunity at "true love" and the way she handles her choices feels right. What makes the book particularly enjoyable is that the affair, though important, doesn't drive the plot as much as the situation in which Jane finds herself and the decision making process she goes through. The result is an interesting tale with some thought behind it. This book is worth reading.

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