Summary (from the publisher):
Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.
Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.
Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
You might know that I read The Wedding Date companion series way out of order. I started with the latest release & book #5, Party of Two, then went back to beginning and read book #1, The Wedding Date. Then, I skipped book #2, The Proposal (for now), and then jumped to book #3 and #4, The Wedding Party and Royal Holiday. I can say that Jasmine Guillory’s storytelling gets stronger with each installment. I enjoyed The Wedding Date and The Wedding Party, but they just felt like they were missing something. I absolutely loved Party of Two and consider that to be my favorite in the series, but Royal Holiday was such a strong installment and is now a go-to holiday romance recommendation!
Royal Holiday follows Maddie’s mom, Vivian, who joins her daughter on a Christmas work trip to England. Maddie, who appears in The Wedding Date and is the female lead in The Wedding Party, is styling the Duchess of England – you better believe I had the IRL royals pictured in my head- for the holiday and has her mom accompany her on the trip. Vivian instantly has chemistry with Malcom, the private secretary of the Queen, and the two spend the holiday getting to know one another. With a new job on the line at home in California for Vivian and Malcom busy working for the royals, the two know this relationship can’t possibly work out, but dread the end of the time together.
Based on friends’ reviews on Goodreads, I actually think I’m in the unpopular opinion category based on how much I enjoyed Royal Holiday! Royal Holiday is definitely a quiet read and doesn’t have a ton of action, but to me, it’s such a quintessential, cozy holiday read. I loved the England and royal setting, as Maddie and Vivian stay at one of the royals’ country estates. There’s scones, tea, horse-back riding, nights sitting by the fireplace, aka everything you could possibly want in a Christmas -themed read. Blame it on my current extreme wanderlust, but I also loved when the book transitioned to London. I loved escaping into holiday London and watching fireworks over the Thames. I’m someone who tends to like quiet and more character-driven reads, as long as I connect to the writing style, and I thought Royal Holiday was well-written. I loved Vivian’s charm, and her and Malcom’s flirting was so fun to read.
While The Wedding Date series follows thirty-something career driven protagonists, Malcom and Vivian are the oldest couple in the series. I admit that I’ve read very few (if any at all) contemporary romances that don’t follow twenty- or thirty-somethings. I thought having a couple in a little bit of a later stage in life was refreshing. There’s no pressure for them to progress their relationship fast or towards a bigger stage. I will say that Royal Holiday does fall into the pitfall of the other Wedding Date books and other tropey contemporary romances, since Vivian and Malcom deny that their relationship could actually work out.
Overall, Royal Holiday was a solid installment in The Wedding Date series. I really think this series gets stronger with each book. Party of Two is still my favorite, but Royal Holiday is definitely my number two! While reading the other books in the series does provide more context, Royal Holiday can be read as a holiday standalone if you’re looking for another holiday read this season.
Have you read Royal Holiday? What are your go-to holiday book recommendations? Have you read any books in The Wedding Date series? Share in the comments!