I was going to read this one in the week after Christmas but having taken a look at this year’s Read Harder Challenge I decided to wait until New Years since this is Guillory’s book featuring Maddie’s mom Vivian, who raised her by herself – take that task 14: Read a romance starring a single parent.
I just wish this was better.
Jasmine Guillory launched onto the Romance scene two years ago with The Wedding Date and has released four novels in that time. The second of the bunch, The Proposal, is my favorite, and I think the most well written, but both 2019 releases, The Wedding Party and Royal Holiday are each a dramatic step down in quality from the first two books.
My main concern with Royal Holiday is that the characters could be anyone. We meet Vivian in The Wedding Party as she and Maddie have a close relationship born of a life of just the two of them, and while Vivian travels with Maddie to England for the set p of the book, we rarely see them interact and once Vivian is away from Maddie she loses any sense of who we have learned her to be. On the whole the writing is bland and the characters are underdeveloped. Which leads into my secondary complaint – this is basically an excuse to dump characters into a Duke and Duchess of Sussex fanfic that got expanded to a full size novel for no good reason. The premise that Maddie is flown in to fill in for a friend as the Duchess of Sussex’s dresser for the holidays and is able to bring her mother to stay with the couple is pushing even my credulity limit for romance, but having Vivian bump into the Queen and have it not be a big deal for the staff made me put the book down and take a break.
This one should have been a novella, there’s a good story here hiding beneath the bloat. I worry that the publishing schedule is starting to show in Guillory’s writing, I’m sure she probably had her first two books written when she got her book deal (or nearly there) but that still means that she is writing five books in the course of three or four years, and the past two also doing press and touring to support the releases every six months. Romancelandia can require a lot of its new “IT” authors, and this book might be the cost of that.
Here’s hoping book five in the series Party of Two which releases in June is a step back to form.