Presidential by Lola Keeley is a slow burn, age gap romance between two powerful women who have more passion than time or privacy to find their love.

The high pressure of being a young heart surgeon at a prestigious D.C. hospital is a life Dr. Emily Lawrence has chosen and thrives in.  A young patient who arrives unexpectedly is accompanied by a phalanx of black suited secret service agents, and treating the President’s son brings her into the life of America’s first woman president.

President Connie Calvin is a widow with a young son and a million big issues on her plate. Meeting the doctor who impressed her son is the beginning of fitting in a romance in the midst of political maneuvering and the time crunch of being the world’s most powerful politician.

Their worlds clash on the subject of which big issues will take precedence to Connie, and whether Emily can stay with a woman who must make compromises in the political theater.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

There is a logical progression to the plot that is really important considering the characters involved. Few careers have more pressing issues and time constraints than President of the United States, or top level pediatric heart surgeon. Emily and Connie can’t just run off to a coffee shop to get to know one another, or even go for a walk down the block. I never felt frustrated by the huge limitations faced by both characters, compounded by the combination of the two careers.

The passion between the two women is nicely drawn. They are immediately attracted to each other and are not shy about making their feelings known and getting on with the relationship despite obstacles. I also appreciated that there was little if any discussion about trying to hide the fledgling relationship. Timing of news release is of course important, but there was no hesitation in embracing a romance that could be lethal to a political career.

The author doesn’t shy away from the politics that is necessarily involved. There is some harsh language and situations that Americans have become used to in the last twenty years or so, but I didn’t feel like it went over the top to the level we’ve seen too often in modern times. A reader will know exactly where the author is politically, and though the author is not kind to the opposition at least she doesn’t make them mustache twirling evil.

Cons And Heads Up

Heads up for, obviously, a lot of political talk. Also, every character is initially described using their skin color – black, brown, white – which I found odd at the least.

The Conclusion

Two powerful women must negotiate the tricky waters of falling in love while surrounded by heavy security, constant public scrutiny, and a need to trust that the other can compromise their principles if needed in a heated political climate. The romance must be a slow burn because of the obstacles despite an immediate attraction between them, but it’s worth the wait. Politics is an important aspect in the book, and the author is not neutral, but it doesn’t entirely affect the romance.

Excerpt from Presidential by Lola Keeley

Connie felt the urge to move around, getting up and walking across to her bedroom. “Although I imagine this has been difficult enough for you without having to imagine that horror scenario.”

“Why horror?” Emily said. “If it had been a real date, the best seat in the house at the Kennedy Center isn’t a bad start. Not to mention the champagne. That was the real deal, right?”

“Oh yes, they wouldn’t dare give me the cheap stuff. Still, I’m sure you would have politely refused if I’d been asking you on a real date. Even though it turns out you’re quite adept at handling chaos.”

Connie held her breath for a count of three. Was this conversation really happening?

“Madam President – Connie – it’s been a long day – a long week, in fact – and I’ve just come out from an eight hours GSW to the chest that left my patient’s heart in shreds and almost killed them. Forgive me for being direct, and maybe I’m misunderstanding, but are you asking me out?”

“What if I were?” There was no hesitation, no fumbling for another explanation. Talking to Martin about whether or not she was ready had settled something in Connie, and for the first time, considering a date with someone new didn’t feel like cheating on Robert. “I mean, we’re getting the heat in the press for it anyway. Like the old English proverb says, ‘Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.’”

“The English say that, do they?” Emily gave a little snort of laughter. “I’m beginning to think you might be a bit of a nerd.”

“Excuse me, I learned that when I studied at Oxford. As a Rhodes Scholar.”

“Not helping you on the nerd front, Connie.”

They both laughed, and Connie found herself wishing the call would never have to end.

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Bits and Bobs


Publisher: Ylva Publishing


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