Jordana's Reviews > Love, Across the Divide

Love, Across the Divide by Krystal Ford
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bookshelves: jordana-chicklit, jordana-romantic-fiction

Megan is a Republican congressional aide about to run for Congress. Andrew is a Democratic environmental lobbyist who loves to cook at home with farm fresh ingredients and a good bottle of wine. Ideological and romantic sparks fly when they become roommates in Washington, DC, during the first year of the Donald J. Trump presidency.

Remember the good old partisan days?
Back in the innocent days of a two-party system that disagreed on details but came together on fundamental American ideals, politically star-crossed lovers offered conflict honed as if in romantic comedy heaven. He goes blue, she goes red, but when they get together, they are white hot. Nothing that a little snuggling couldn’t cure by the final chapter.

In the America of President Trump, however, political differences are blood sport. This is partisan war, and families and friends report ruptures based on votes and party affiliation. America is now a tribal place, and author Krystal Ford has effectively carved into this national polarity to craft a love story for the Trump era.

A nation divided
In Ford’s Trump America, political ideals trump human feelings. Megan is hotter than Malibu Barbie in Congress, but Andrew, a single red-blooded American man, sees her politics before her cleavage. Ditto everyone who enters their apartment or orbit; politics and its biases dominate even the most basic social interactions. Everyone is poised to discriminate and treat members of the opposing party as enemies.

The pace of such frenzied political awareness can become exhausting and unbelievable. Is everyone a political junkie? Even in the chaos of current times, don’t people still manage to socialize without spitting political fire? Maybe not, and more importantly, Ford has a point to make about the toxic levels of current American discourse.

Ford likewise makes a valiant play at distinguishing traditional conservative ideals from the juggernaut of the Trump Party. Through Megan’s blend of social compassion and fiscal sensibility, Ford paints a Republican agenda that, by modern standards, is barely discernible from its counterparts on the left – and easily bridged. In Megan, centrist readers can find an American with values and vision to serve, and she functions as an effective messaging tool for political reason and reconciliation.

True love in red and blue
As a romantic lead, however, Megan is difficult to access. Her political career is her everything, yet the book’s action predominantly features her meals and sleep habits in the apartment and on a series of distracting blind dates straight from the romance trope handbook. I struggled to reconcile her stated ambitions when I saw so little of her daily work as a congressional aide. She seemed like any normal working, jogging, dating 35-year-old except that, oh yeah, she’s running for Congress.

Andrew, on the other hand, emerges as an appealing and sympathetic male lead. If I was ambivalent about Megan, I wanted Andrew to have everything he desired, including Megan. Their affection and camaraderie are genuine, and I absolutely believed them to be in love and felt quite sated by the ultimate resolution of their story.

Save us from polarized ourselves
But there’s more. Ford’s effective and well-written entry into the post-Obama American canon left me thinking about the relative privilege of the characters in Love, Across the Divide . They want for nothing, eat and dress and do yoga and jog and dine finely and have good jobs and good friends and homes and health. Backstory and side plots touch upon the suffering of those lacking health insurance and equal civil rights, but the people yelling the loudest in these pages are, like so many of us, just fine. Yet they are angry. Their ideals have been slammed, their sense of appropriateness has been challenged, they are not hearing language and policy they favor.

Ideology, even when fomented over wine and cheese, can change the world if catalyzed sentiment leads to effective action. But ideology, as Ford demonstrates, can also lead to a lot of righteous squabbling that only strengthens the barriers of division. What if Americans on both sides of the cavernous political aisle could ratchet down the indignation? Can we yield our prideful bickering long enough to consider what really matters for improving lives and sustaining a united country worth arguing about? If ever there was a time to take a cue, Megan and Andrew’s path toward reconciliation is a model to consider.

I received a free advanced copy of Love Across the Divide in exchange for an honest review.
www.jordanalandsman.com
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Reading Progress

June, 2018 – Started Reading
June, 2018 – Finished Reading
June 26, 2018 – Shelved

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