Ugh. Dude. This book was soooo underwhelming! I usually adore Jasmine Guillory’s work, but Royal Holiday was a serious let-down.
Maddie Forest’s mother Vivian goes with Maddie to England for Christmas, as Maddie has a styling job for the Duchess over the holiday and they still want to spend Christmas together. Vivian is up for a big promotion at work, and she believes this will be the last time she can truly relax once she takes it, so she goes along. On their glorious vacation, she meets Malcolm Hudson, private secretary to the queen, and they have a whirlwind romance, but with an expiration date.
Even as I’m writing it, I know that summary is dry. But I honestly can’t spice it up! This is one of the driest and most boring books I’ve read in a while! I have several complaints, but I want to start by prefacing: it feels like this is the book Guillory’s publisher was pushing for, to release for the Christmas season, so she just kind of threw it together and called it a day. I mean, The Wedding Party only came out in July! An October release, just two and a half months after the third book in the series??? That’s quite literally all you need to know about why this book was so bad, but I’ll continue.
Guillory rose to fame, I believe, because her books were meet-cutes with sparks. Characters were really likable, but they had depth, and their romances captured that depth. She infused a good degree of humor, and it was like she reinvented the wheel. But I’m telling you, if you’ve enjoyed any of Guillory’s books in the past, skip this one. Vivian and Malcolm had no magic. NONE. There was no romantic tension, no reason in my bones to believe they could possibly not work it out, and therefore nothing to get excited and anxious about while I read. It was like some picturesque romance where everything is perfect all the time. It was bizarre and totally out of left field for Guillory.
Which brings me to another point: this plot line was so unoriginal, it produced absolutely nothing noteworthy. Take-vacation, meet-new-man, fall-in-love, so-on-and-so-forth, I’m-not-spoiling-this-trash-plot-for-you-because-I’m-nice-like-that. I think they were hingeing on “she’s older and he’s older and they’re not teenagers anymore so they can’t fall in love like that!” being their main redeeming plot point, but I’m telling you, it was not. In fact, they still acted like totally irrational teenagers by the end of the book. Like I said, Guillory’s characters are often really well-rounded and therefore, their actions in the climax of the book make sense – and are believable. However, I had zero understanding of who Vivian and Malcolm are as people. I understand some of their attributes, the circumstances of their life, et cetera… but nothing about those revealed anything about the way they acted in the last fifty or so pages of the book. It seemed out of character when I first read it, but after a time, it seemed like I didn’t really know the characters at all.
I just all around didn’t enjoy this book, really. I think they relied too heavily on it having some sort of Christmas magic for people, or on the characters being older, but it gave the whole thing a light and flouncy air that was more reminiscent of old romances, which I just can’t buy into. Really not a fan. The more I criticize it here, the more my opinion of it is lowering.
A copy of Royal Holiday was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley. It will be available on October 1, 2019.