... a sweet, sexy story about two people who are perfect for each other ... Now, if this romance sounds too perfect, a warning: Guillory doesn't make the journey to love easy. Malcolm's nephew causes some problems, as does Vivian's habit of keeping her personal life a secret from her daughter. Still, Guillory keeps her story's focus on the fun, which makes for a breezy, relaxing read. From delicious homemade scones to footmen delivering handwritten notes, Jasmine Guillory's Royal Holiday and its charming tale of love over 50 is a shining jewel worthy of a queen's crown.
The Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory had me smiling from page one and kept me delighted all the way through. My joy was so palpable that I had coworkers asking me during my lunch break what I was reading because I don’t usually spend my lunch so lovingly enraptured by my cell phone ... Both characters acknowledge that they are in a space that makes them more aware of their Blackness and, in particular, the former British empire’s own historical relationship to race and oppression. But, they also refuse to bound by that history. It was a fun surprise to see hints of this double consciousness ... What Royal Holiday gave me was an opportunity to not have to bend over backwards. The story lets two Black people engage in silly historical romantic tropes and simultaneously acknowledge why their Blackness means they would have never been able to engage in such practices in the past while also refusing to have that be a reason to limit the choices they are making in the present.
The confrontations they do have are dealt with quickly and without escalation. Theirs is not so much a thrilling romance as a picture of effective communication and mutual understanding. Each helps the other with an important decision, providing a key emotional insight when it’s most needed ... [Vivian's] openhearted joy in these new experiences invites the reader to appreciate the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of England with the delight of a newcomer. For an American reader, the foreign country feels magical during the holiday season, and through Vivian we get to revel in the charms without suffering the chilly weather ... gives positive representation of a mature, respectful, sex-positive couple of a certain age, but without much specificity. Malcolm and Vivian are broadly drawn characters, without the quirks and idiosyncrasies that would make them singular. As a result, some of their interactions feel superficial, like an amiable portrait whose subjects we can never fully know ... Even so, it takes courage to open up one’s life to love, so it’s impossible to resist empathizing with the characters as they embrace their vulnerabilities and give each other the ultimate holiday gift: a love that feels too good to be true and the vow to try to believe in it together.