Jasmine Guillory’s The Proposal has brought an element to contemporary romance fiction that is rarely utilized: diversity.
In The Proposal, Guillory tells a meet-cute love story with a modern flare. The diverse characters presented throughout the storyline set the story apart from others of its genre; every central, recurring character is a person of color. Throughout the novel, there is consistent representation of African-American women, Korean-American women, women of the LBGTQ community, and Hispanic heritage. The inclusiveness of this novel extends its appeal to a larger audience.
The storyline follows freelance writer, Nik, who receives an extravagant and unexpected marriage proposal from her casual boyfriend on the Jumbotron during a Dodgers baseball game. After rejecting him and being booed by the disappointed crowd, a stranger in the stands, Carlos, rescues her by rushing her out of the stadium. Carlos and Nik spark a newfound friendship, which inevitably leads to romance.
As the complications of a modern-day relationship are narrated through alternating perspectives of Nik and Carlos, there are additional underlying themes of feminism. While Nik develops her romance with Carlos, she focuses on balancing her independence, ability to stand up for herself, and the fact that just because she is with a man, doesn’t mean she needs to be.
It is rare to find a contemporary love story empowering. Guillory achieves this not only by sharing a sweet connection between two unlikely individuals, but also by painting a picture of the modern woman.