Romance novels are a new thing to me. And there is one woman who made me a hardcore fan of the fantastical genre: Jasmine Guillory. As we head towards the chilly days that are perfect for curling up with a good book, this is your guide to the magical Guillory-verse and each of the awesome standalone (sort of) novels that connect it. There’s something for every kind of reader here from cynic to dreamer, city meet cute to British Christmas romance. If you’re looking for something delightful and charming to dig your teeth into, Jasmine Guillory’s books are it.
What is the Guillory-verse?
A reinvention of the romance genre, Guillory’s books each tell the story of an unexpected couple. Her leads are Black women and the stories are contemporary. This isn’t the classical period romance with swooning women and handsome dukes—although there is nothing wrong with those stories. This is a gateway series to a wider love of all romance, as I can attest. These are stories you can easily connect with, relate to, and believe in. The women here are busy, loving, complex, and have no plans on finding love, but all do. With every page turn Guillory crafts a realistic world you want to live in and people you want to know. Though you can read the books in whichever order you’d like—I started with the magical Royal Holiday—they all share connections which help to build out the world and are fun to spot as you go forward.
So here’s a rundown of each of the titles to help you prep your Guillory-verse reading list:
The Wedding Date
Sparking off the series is this charming tale of a fake-romance turned real. When Alexa Monroe gets stuck in an elevator with a handsome and arrogant doctor named Drew, she doesn’t think much of it. But when he asks her to be his plus one to a wedding, things heat up. See, she has to pretend to be his girlfriend, which sounds like it might be fun… until things start to get too real.
Nikole Paterson is dating a hot but barely there boyfriend. He’s cute enough but she can sense things are coming to end… until he proposes to her at a Dodgers game in front of 45,000 people. When the press starts to swarm, she’s saved by a stranger named Carlos and his sister, who pretend to know her in order to help her escape. The pair embark on a whirlwind series of hookups which are meant to be anything but serious. Well, you can guess how that turns out.
The Wedding Party
Maddie and Theo are both best friends with Alexa (from The Wedding Date!) but the only thing that they can agree on is how much they hate each other. After a drunken hookup which was amazing, they start a secret relationship while they help plan Alexa’s wedding. But as the nuptials draw closer and they start to realize that they don’t have many booty calls left, things get complicated and the pair have to decide what they really want from each other.
When Vivian Forest gets the chance to join her daughter Maddie (yep, the same one) on a work trip to England, she can’t say no. Their adventure takes them to the Christmas home of the Royal Family where Maddie will be styling a member of the monarchy. Vivian is given free reign of the sprawling grounds and gets a tour from Malcolm, the Queen’s handsome private secretary. Connecting over the festive season is all well and good but Malcolm is from London and Vivian lives in the Bay Area… so it couldn’t really be more than a holiday fling, could it?
Party of Two
This timely offering is Guillory’s newest book (it recently hit shelves). Olivia Monroe’s life is on the brink of true stability. She’s moved to LA to start a law firm with her best friend. She has a gorgeous home. The last thing she needs is a new boyfriend. Especially one who just happens to be an upcoming political superstar. When the pair meet in a hotel bar they instantly connect but can they really find happiness together? You’ll have to grab a copy to find out.
Whichever book you decide to pick up you’ll likely fall in love. Each story is incredibly engaging, delightfully romantic, and a total joy. This is the new series you need in your life.
Featured Image: Berkley Books