Royal Holiday

Royal Holiday

by Jasmine Guillory

Hardcover

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Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal and a “rising star in the romance genre” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a dazzling new novel about a spontaneous holiday vacation that turns into an unforgettable romance.

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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984802217
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 10,966
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jasmine Guillory is a lawyer, a graduate of Wellesley College and Stanford Law School, and a Bay Area native who lives in Oakland, California. She has been published in The Toast and The Hairpin, has towering stacks of books in her living room, a cake for every occasion, and upward of fifty lipsticks. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Date, The Proposal, and The Wedding Party. Visit her online at jasmineguillory.com and twitter.com/thebestjasmine.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

 

Vivian nudged her daughter as they walked out of the customs area at Heathrow Airport.

 

"Um, Maddie? Do you think Ms. M. Forest and Ms. V. Forest are us?"

 

Vivian gestured at the man in the suit, holding the sign with their names on it.

 

Maddie turned in the direction Vivian was looking and grinned at her mother.

 

"Let's do this, Mom."

 

Vivian looked around and laughed to herself before she grinned back at Maddie.

 

She still didn't exactly know how she'd gotten here. It had all started with a call from Maddie a few weeks ago.

 

"Hey, Mom, I need an answer fast-do you want to spend Christmas with me in England?"

 

Vivian had laughed. What else was there to do when your thirty-four-year-old daughter asked something so ridiculous?

 

"Sure, I do. I also want to spend Thanksgiving with you in Hawaii, New Year's Eve with you in Paris, and Easter with you in Rome."

 

But Maddie didn't laugh at that.

 

"No, really. I'm serious. You remember my old mentor, Amelia Samuels?"

 

Vivian looked away from her computer screen.

 

"The one who's now the stylist for the princess?"

 

"Duchess, but yes. Well, Amelia was supposed to go to England at Christmas to help prepare the Duchess for all of the royal Christmas festivities-apparently, there are lots of them-but Amelia is pregnant with twins and just had to go on bed rest. Her doctor says she's under too much stress and can't work at all."

 

"Oh no, really? Poor Amelia; I didn't know she was pregnant! Please tell her I'm thinking about her."

 

Vivian had only met Amelia once, that time she'd gone down to visit Maddie when she'd been living in L.A., but she'd really liked her. And Amelia had done a lot for Maddie and her own stylist career.

 

"I will, Mom, but let me finish. Since Amelia can't fly to England for Christmas, she wants me to fill in for her, because both she and the Duchess want someone she trusts."

 

Vivian dropped her pen on the floor.

 

"Maddie! Oh my God! Are you serious? My daughter is going to be so famous! You're going to England to work with a princess? You'll be all over People magazine! Oh my God, I can't wait to tell everybody!"

 

Maddie laughed.

 

"You can't tell everybody yet, but I know, I'm blown away. But wait, we can be excited in a second-I want you to come with me."

 

Vivian got up and closed her office door.

 

"Come with you . . . to England?"

 

Maddie started talking faster.

 

"It means I'll be there for Christmas, and I don't want to be alone with a bunch of strangers at Christmas. I already asked if you could join me, and they said yes. So . . . can you?"

 

Vivian looked around at the piles of work on her desk, and in the direction of her boss's office, with their last conversation about his future-and hers-ringing in her ears.

 

"Maddie, I don't know about this-I have a ton of work at this time of year, and today is especially wild around here. What about Theo, did you already talk to him?"

 

Vivian already adored Maddie's boyfriend, Theo, even though they'd only officially been together for a few months.

 

"I told Theo about the offer, yes, and he's thrilled for me. But if you mean did I invite Theo to come to England with me already, absolutely not. I love Theo, and I can't wait to spend New Year's Eve with him, but I've never spent a Christmas without my mother, and I don't intend to start now. So, are you coming?"

 

Vivian grinned to herself. She couldn't deny it warmed her heart to know her daughter still wanted her mom with her for Christmas.

 

But to go all the way to England for Christmas? That far away from work, the rest of the family, and everything?

 

"I'd love to come, but I can't make a decision like this right now," she said to Maddie. "Let me think about it and we can talk about this in a few days."

 

Maddie's voice got louder.

 

"There's no 'a few days.' I have to make this decision now, and I'm going to decide for both of us. You need this. You haven't gone on a real vacation in years."

 

How had she managed to have a daughter who thought she could boss her around like this?

 

"Oh, you have to go. Life is too short not to take incredible opportunities like this! But I don't think I can-"

 

"I'm definitely going, and you're definitely coming with me. You never take enough time for yourself; you know I always tell you that. You spend all your time working or helping me or helping out with Aunt Jo. I know you don't want to leave Aunt Jo, but you need a break."

 

"Maddie . . ."

 

"Great, it's settled. Talk to you later!"

 

And with that, Maddie had hung up, and two days later they had plane tickets. Vivian hadn't even known until they were about to board the flight that they were first-class tickets.

 

She laughed to herself just thinking about that flight. The last time she'd been on an airplane, she'd felt lucky to be in an aisle seat. She'd had an aisle seat this time, too-a huge, futuristic, podlike seat, with room not only to stretch her legs, but to lie almost flat. With just a wave, she could summon champagne and snacks to her side, and for all she knew, there was some secret button to give her a massage, too. She and Maddie had spent the first two hours of the flight just looking around and giggling with each other.

 

Despite how amazing the flight had been, Vivian still wasn't sure she should be here. She was with Maddie, but what about the rest of her family? Her sisters needed her, especially her sister Jo. And she'd never been away from the Bay Area for Christmas in her life. What was Christmas going to be like without her great-aunt Shirley's ham, or her cousin Loretta's greens, or those dinner rolls her cousin Marilyn always said she made but everyone else knew she got at Safeway?

 

But then . . . she hated those greens. There was never enough pork in them and way too much vinegar. It might be nice to have a change of pace for Christmas, even though she had serious doubts anyone in England knew how to make a sweet potato pie.

 

The very polite man in the suit escorted them to a waiting SUV, and Vivian and Maddie kept making faces at each other as he offered them three different kinds of bottled water and told them how to turn on their heated seats.

 

Maddie opened a bottle of water and handed it to Vivian.

 

"It's supposed to take a few hours to get there, so . . ."

 

"What?" Vivian stopped her. "A few hours? Where are we going?"

 

Maddie laughed.

 

"Didn't you read the email I sent you about that? The royal family always spends Christmas at Sandringham. It's up in the north of England."

 

Like she'd had time to read Maddie's lengthy emails. She'd gotten herself packed and to the airport, hadn't she?

 

"I had too much to do in the last few weeks; I had to get ready for a last-minute international trip, remember? Plus, your emails are too long."

 

Maddie sighed.

 

"I should have known. Anyway, Sandringham is a big estate; there are a bunch of royal residences on it, and then lots of trees and land; at least, that's what the pictures online look like. I guess we'll see for ourselves shortly."

 

Vivian sat back against the plush heated seat.

 

"I still can't believe we're really staying with the Duke and Duchess."

 

Maddie had told her this for the first time about a week ago, and like everything else Maddie had told her about this trip, it sounded as though it couldn't be real.

 

Maddie shook her head.

 

"I know. The Duchess insisted. She said it would be easier if I was right on-site, and that there's plenty of room in their cottage on the estate for us. When she was so enthusiastic about you joining me, I suspected she was missing her own mom, so I think she's really looking forward to having us there."

 

This all seemed surreal. Vivian really couldn't believe she was about to meet someone she'd read so much about.

 

She was a social worker from Oakland, for God's sake! How was this happening?

 

Speaking of her job . . .

 

"So, I haven't told you this yet," Vivian said to her daughter, "because I wasn't sure if it was really going to happen, but Darren made the announcement before I left the office yesterday: he's retiring. And he wants me to get his job. He first talked to me about it a few weeks ago, and yesterday he brought it up to his boss when I was right there, so I guess he means it."

 

Maddie screeched.

 

"Mom! Oh my God! I can't believe you're just telling me this now! This is so exciting! What's the title, director of social work?"

 

Vivian nodded slowly.

 

"Yep. He's leaving sometime in February, and the hospital director already told me they probably won't get the hiring process started for a few months, so they're going to make me the acting director as soon as Darren retires."

 

"Wow." Maddie put her water bottle down and pulled her mom into a hug. "I'm so thrilled for you; this is such great recognition after all of your hard work."

 

The recognition had felt satisfying, even though she was still in shock about all of this.

 

"That's true, though it means I'll be jumping into a job with lots of hard work, and I won't get to see patients nearly as much . . . or maybe not at all. But it's a big honor"-she grinned-"and more money."

 

Maddie settled back against the car seat.

 

"Well, I'm even more glad I made you come on this trip with me. I'm sure you'll take even fewer vacations once you're the big boss."

 

That was probably very true. Yes, she was glad she'd come on this trip with her daughter. She hadn't been on vacation-a real vacation, not just a few days off work-in a year and a half. The only other time she'd even been out of the country was that trip she'd taken with her friends to Mexico for her fortieth birthday, and that had been well over ten years ago.

 

She looked out the car window for her first glimpses of England. The sun was setting already, which surprised her, since they'd landed in the middle of the afternoon. She reminded herself how much farther north London was from the Bay Area, and it was almost the shortest day of the year; of course sunset was this early.

 

After about an hour and a half, the car slowed down. She and Maddie peered out the windows into the darkness-they couldn't see much, but it seemed like they were turning off the highway and onto smaller roads. Then the car slowed down even more, and it got darker outside the car windows; the streetlights had seemed to disappear, and all she could see were the outlines of trees. She and Maddie looked at each other with their eyes wide open.

 

Vivian reached out and grabbed her daughter's hand and squeezed hard.

 

"You're going to be great at this."

 

Maddie nodded.

 

"Thanks, Mom. I'm so glad you're here."

 

Vivian smiled.

 

"Me too."

 

Just then, the car came to a stop, and the very polite driver leaped out of his seat to open their car doors.

 

"Madam. Madam. Welcome to Sandringham."

 

Vivian turned to Maddie.

 

"Deep breaths," she said under her voice, before she turned to get out of the car.

 

"Thank you," Vivian said to the driver. She reached for her carry-on, but before she could pick it up, someone else had come running.

 

"Allow me, ma'am."

 

With nothing to carry, she and Maddie turned toward the . . . cottage? Was this a cottage? Oh God. She would have called it a mansion, but then, they did have different words for things in England. She still couldn't remember what they called a bathroom. She was going to have to ask Maddie.

 

They walked up to the front door, but before they got to the top step, yet another man in a suit opened it.

 

"Ms. Forest and Ms. Forest? Welcome."

 

Vivian and Maddie turned to each other and smiled before walking inside.

 

They'd just taken their coats off and handed them to Suit #3, when a woman came down the hall toward them.

 

"You're here! I'm so glad you made it! How was your flight? Was the drive here okay? I know it's so cold outside, but we've made up the fires in your rooms. Would you like a hot buttered rum to warm you up after your trip? Some sandwiches or scones, maybe?"

 

She was smaller in person, but even prettier than she looked on the cover of People magazine. Vivian hoped Maddie would get to find out exactly what her skin care regimen was, because the woman was glowing.

 

Vivian reached out her hand.

 

"Thank you so much, and thank you for your hospitality. Both the flight and the drive were very easy. And I can't speak for my daughter, but hot buttered rum sounds like a dream come true."

 

Maddie laughed.

 

"And so do sandwiches and scones."

 

The Duchess ignored Vivian's hand and pulled her into a hug instead.

 

"Wonderful! Let me take you upstairs, show you to your rooms, and let you get freshened up, then you can come down to the sitting room for a little feast. Don't worry; I'm sure you're exhausted. I don't want to keep you up too late. I know how those flights from California to England can be!"

 

The Duchess led them up two flights of stairs, chattering the entire time. Vivian hadn't expected her to be so normal. She'd worried that everything here would be super formal, and she'd have to be on her best behavior for her whole vacation, but the past five minutes had reassured her.

 

The Duchess threw open the doors of two rooms.

 

"Here are your rooms, and the bathroom is right across the hall." Vivian looked inside; their bags were already in their respective rooms.

 

And each room really had a fireplace, with a blazing fire. Bedrooms with fireplaces-she was never going to get over this.

 

"The house can get really drafty; that's why I had them make up the fires in there for you. I would have put space heaters in all of the rooms, but I made that mistake early on and blew out the electricity for about half of the palace, and everyone is still talking about it, so I've had to go back to things like fires and lots of throw rugs and hot tea. Just preparing you now so you won't wake up overnight shivering."

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions
1. Have you traveled out of the country before? What are some of the cultural differences you encountered?

2. When Vivian begins to spend time with Malcolm, she tries to stifle her joy and the butterflies in her stomach. She tends to talk herself down, thinking she’s “too old” to be feeling giddy over a love interest. Have you ever felt an expectation to behave a certain way due to your age, whether you felt too young or too old?

3. Vivian and Malcolm both excel in their chosen jobs and could serve as role models for others aspiring to those professions. Do you have a role model or mentor in the workplace who you admire and inspires you?

4. Have you ever felt the pressure to accept a job offer even though you didn’t truly want it? What affects your decision-making process when choosing a job (money, work/life balance, etc.)?

5. Malcolm’s nephew, Miles, wishes to go to art school, but his family is against him doing so. Do you think he should enroll at the art school anyway or heed his family’s guidance and attend Oxford as planned? Who do you think is right in this situation?

6. Vivian makes pro/con lists to help her decide what to do in difficult situations. What method do you use to make hard decisions?

7. Vivian and Malcolm bring out the best in each other, but they also have their own flaws that neither understands at first. What are the positive ways in which they acted in order to move forward, and what could they have done to avoid the many hours of tension?

8. Vivian and Malcolm use snail mail to communicate, forgoing the instant gratification of technology. Do you think you could do this for regular communication? When is the last time you wrote and mailed a letter or postcard for fun?

9. Malcolm makes a big change for Vivian at the end of the book. Do you think you would have done the same for your significant other?

Customer Reviews

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Royal Holiday 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
EileenHutton 6 days ago
I fell in love with Jasmine Guillory’s books with The Wedding Date, but Royal Holiday tops them all. This sparkling romance begins when Vivian agrees to accompany her daughter to England, where Maddie has been hired to style the Royal Duchess. At 54, Vivian has never been overseas before, and she’s not sure she should be going now. At Sandringham, where the royals spend Christmas, Vivian meets 52 year old Malcolm, Secretary to the Queen. The romance that develops is sweet and funny, and doomed from the start to be nothing but vacation fling. Or is it? Highly recommended.
aharey 9 days ago
When I heard Jasmine Guillory was writing a book that focused on the mom of Maddie from The Wedding Party and the private secretary of the Queen of England, I knew I was going to love it....and I did! Vivian is a middle-aged social worker from California, who embarks on a Christmas adventure with her daughter, who has been invited to dress The Duchess, at Sandringham. She meets Malcolm, the Queen's private secretary and they are smitten. This story is fluffy and fun and I enjoyed all of it. I'm a sucker for anything related to the royals and this novel did not disappoint.
book_junkee 13 days ago
I had loved the previous books in this series and loved the idea of a holiday book in London. I liked Vivian and Malcolm well enough. They’re both sweet and unassuming and much too polite to have any actual chemistry. I was a little wary at reading a book with older people and perhaps that’s the reason I didn’t connect to either of them. Plot wise, it was so very bland. I quickly found myself skimming chapters just for the dialogue. As much as I love London {which is at an insanely high level of obsession}, I didn’t want to bother reading the descriptions of the city. One of the things I did really love was the letter writing, but sadly, that’s about it. Overall, I was really into this idea, but the execution just didn’t work for me. **Huge thanks to Berkley for providing the arc free of charge**
kozbisa 14 days ago
Rating: 3.5 Stars Not too long ago, I had done a blog post about the lack of "mature" heroines in romance novels, and shortly thereafter, I heard about this book. Obviously, I was really excited about it. I would like to think, that love is a possibility at any age, and I enjoyed reading this "seasoned" romance. Both Vivian and Malcolm were wonderful characters. They were interesting, witty, and I enjoyed getting to know them. More importantly, I adored seeing them get to know each other. I loved their interactions and thought they really well suited for one another. I found myself enjoying their time in England a LOT. The walks, the riding, the museums, the notes - I thought it was all really sweet, and I smiled as their attraction and affection grew. As a matter of fact, I never wanted to leave the holiday "bubble". It was great seeing these two get their second chance at love. Their romance was sweet, endearing, and passionate, and I was all about this ship. I did want a little more from the ending, but overall, this was a very pleasant and charming read, which was quite fun and left a smile on my face.
Anonymous 15 days ago
Vivian is a hard worker who never takes time for herself. So when her daughter Maddie snags a job dressing the Duchess over the holidays, Maddie doesn’t give her a choice, and the two are off to London. On day one, Vivian meets Malcolm and is instantly drawn to him. They spent time together during Vivians week in England, but both know the week will end before they know it. This was a super quick read for me. While this was still a 4 star read for me, I don’t think it quite lived up to the same hype as The Wedding Date, The Proposal, or The Wedding Party. It was still a great book that I do recommend though! I loved watching Vivian and Malcolm as they helped each other grow and find themselves. I wish Maddie played a bit of a larger role, but knowing Jasmine, the next book may just center back around her! Thank you to berkley publishing and netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book in advance!
Anonymous 17 days ago
bayy245 18 days ago
(3.5 stars) Royal Holiday was really cute and just as wonderful as the rest of Jasmine Guillory's books. I am a sucker for English romances, especially with royalty, or royalty adjacent, involved. I really liked that our MC and LI were a lot older than we see in typical romance novels. Your life doesn't stop when you get to your 50's. I loved getting to hear about social work and all the different aspects I didn't know they helped with. I loved that her daughter was a stylist and that I got to learn a little bit more about what they do. Overall, it was really cute and sweet. The older MCs were refreshing and I love the cover. It's a cute one to pick up this holiday season! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Berkley through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*
MatteaLC 19 days ago
A beautifully written story about loss, love and forgiveness. Braden is a brilliant cellist, who’s hands are damaged in a tragic accident, leaving him unable to play, and sending him into the world of alcoholism. He leaves his family and his beloved cello, but still has a spiritual connection to it, as he stumbles through binges and hangovers. His ex wife and son die in another tragic accident, leaving 17 yr old Allie alone, until Braden shows up, to reluctantly sober up and provide parental support until she’s 18. Kerry Ann King is a gifted writer, with well developed characters and a deep, insightful style. I could hear the music, which is an integral part of this story, as that haunted cello drew the characters together, with their shared love of music. Although I’m not a fan of fantasy, this novel did intrigue me, and I’m happy that the genre didn’t dissuade me. I received an ARC for my honest review, and honestly, I liked it. My thanks to #NetGalley and #LakeUnionPublishing for the opportunity.
JW88 20 days ago
In my favourite of the Wedding Date series, the protagonist is Vivian Forest, mother of Maddie whose story was introduced in Book 3 of the series. Maddie is chosen to dress the Duchess of Sussex over the Christmas holiday in Sandringham and invites Vivian to accompany her so that they can spend some time together over Christmas. While Maddie is busy dressing the Duchess, Vivian meets Malcolm Hudson who works for the Queen. Vivian is not only smitten by Malcolm, but star struck by the environment she is spending Christmas in. Malcolm encourages Vivian to spend a few extra days with him in London prior to her return to California and with a push from Maddie to live for the moment, she agrees to extend her stay. Life at home alone becomes a lot more depressing once Vivian returns to her everyday life, as she begins to learn more about herself and realizes what she really wants in life. I was thoroughly entertained by this book. I enjoy books about the holiday season and books that highlight the differences in cultures. The book was sweet and full of charm. The story really spoke to me as someone over 40 and wish that more rom-coms were targeted towards this demographic. I rate this book 4/5 stars. Thank you to Edelweiss + and Berkley Publications for the opportunity to read an ARC of the book in exchange for the honest review provided here.
Sailon 20 days ago
Vivian is invited to spend Christmas with her daughter in England. Her daughter was hired as the temporary stylist for a royal. Staying in a “cottage” on the royal’s estate, Vivian has a chance encounter, over scones, with Malcolm, the Queens secretary. They have an instant connection that leads to a sweet romance. Royal Holiday is a light romance that spans two continents. Based on mature characters, it is a refreshing change. I received this ARC copy of Royal Holiday from Berkley Publishing Group. This is my honest and voluntary review.
BarbTRC 20 days ago
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory is the 4th book in her The Wedding Date series. I have enjoyed the first three books in this series, and I thought this was a different twist, as well as a charming story line. So very well written by Guillory. We meet our heroine, Vivian Forest, who is invited by her daughter Maddie (previous book heroine) to travel with her to England to help style and dress a royal family member. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and Maddie wants her mom with her; of course, Vivian has never been out of the country and is delighted to go. They will be spending the Christmas holidays with the Duke and Duchess at Sandringham. Malcom Hudson, our hero, is the private secretary for the Queen, and tends to stop over at Sandringham to eat the fabulous scones that Julia, the cook makes. He meets Vivian, and in a short time a slow built romance will begin. Vivian is in awe to meet Malcom, especially since she finds him so handsome and immediately becomes attracted to him. Malcom finds himself enjoying their friendship, as he takes Vivian on various tours around Sandringham, as well as Buckingham Palace. What follows is a lighthearted heartwarming simple story of an older couple, who have been single for many years find romance, but not a likely to be a permanent relationship as they live in two different continents. Both Vivian and Malcolm were great, and it was so sweet and fun as we get to see them explore the many sights of England. Very well done. I also loved seeing Maddie again, as she played a big part in the story, and loved her wonderful relationship with her mom. When the holiday ends, will Vivian and Malcom find a way to make things work? Royal Holiday was a charming, fun, delightful story, with a wonderful mature couple, and great secondary characters. I loved the scenes throughout country side and in London. Once again, Jasmine Guillory gives us a wonderful enjoyable story.