While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As a fan of Jasmine Guillory, I started this book expecting a fun and flirty read. I didn’t anticipate getting so much more substance from each of our main characters. Not to mention a realistic peak behind the curtain of the celebrity life style. I think most of us have had a fleeting fantasy of dating our celebrity crush. In While We Were Dating, an average man named Ben unexpectedly finds himself living out this dream.

A former backup dancer meets an Oscar-nominated actress.

Ben Stephens is working at an ad agency in San Francisco when he meets Anna Gardiner, a well-known Hollywood actress. They’re beginning is fun and light hearted. No heated pick-up lines. Just two mutually attracted people that genuinely like each other. The lusty journey between these two takes-off after only a few chapters.

I appreciated that Guillory wrote Ben as a compassionate and patient man capable of guiding friends and family through a crisis. Like most humans, he’s great it at for others but not himself. In this area, Anna gets to eventually step to the plate for him when he finally admits his vulnerabilities.

A woman on a mission… and it’s NOT to find a man.

Lets all give a round of applause to a woman driven to fulfill her own success! Anna Gardiner overcomes a personal mental health crisis, and executes a plan to land a big movie role. Her end game is an Oscar win. Sure, finding Ben on the way was extraordinary, but it wasn’t where she peaked. After a rough year personally, nothing would stop her from succeeding in her professional life.

I related Anna’s year-long struggle with her mental health to the long pandemic year we endured globally. I wonder if Jasmine Guillory was weaving in some of her own experience during the pandemic “lock-down” at home into Anna’s life. Anna chose to stay away from the public for a year. When she meets Ben, she’s just starting to regain a public life again. It’s unusual and scary for her. Isn’t that how we’ve all felt in the last few months?

While We Were Dating was the perfect book for readers like me, that enjoy a fun story with a splash of spicy romance. Honestly, their connection to each other felt real and made me giggle while curling my toes. Anna and Ben learn so much about keeping their own self a priority while also lifting up the other. That’s what lovers do, and I hope it makes readers pause to think about what a healthy relationship looks like.

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