When Nell is marooned at the altar, her feisty best friend Rachel says she’ll come with her on honeymoon instead. Why waste a week in a posh country hotel?
So the odd couple, plus Rachel’s Agatha-Christie-obsessed small daughter Juno, head for idyllic Edenville, on the edge of the beautiful Pemberton estate. Awaiting them is a cast of colourful characters from Jason the camp hotel manager to the evil Angela, Director of HR. Not to mention the handsome Dylan, a bestselling writer on the run from his past.
Nell doesn’t want to go back to London, so when a job on the estate comes up, she’s happy to stay. Even if it is arranging weddings in the Big House! As she becomes entangled in the lives of the locals – and they weave their way into her heart – she realises there might be a way to reach the rainbow’s end after all.
Wild and Free
Wild and Free by Sunday Times bestselling author Wendy Holden sees the author of Bad Heir Day and The Wives of Bath at the top of her game. Fun for fans of Jane Costello and Carole Matthews.
Wild and Free is the festival du jour. Everyone piles through its gates - and Cupid lies in wait to sprinkle a little midsummer madness on them all.
Teacher Ginnie is desperate to forget her crush on headmaster Mark, and hopes glamping might do the trick. But Mark is also heading for Wild and Free to reform his college band ... desperate not to be seen by anyone he knows.
Mark’s bandmate James dreams of a festival blow-out with his son, Guy ... until his wife Victoria’s ambition kills the dream. Now she and Guy are en route to Wild and Free instead but when Guy meets Shanna-Mae and falls for her earthy charms, Victoria is determined to snap Cupid's arrow.
Will the magic of the festival send them wild? Or set them free to find peace and love?
Gifted and Talented
Gifted & Talented is a romantic comedy set on the campus of a top university – will the dewily-innocent Isabel, leaving home for the first time, find the dreaming spires all that she expects?
And will she be able to cope with her more challenging fellow students, especially Amber the manipulative It Girl and the handsome but dangerous Jasper, president of the university’s notorious Bullinger Club? Recently moved to the same university town is Diana. She is getting over a divorce and starting a new life with her daughter, as well as a new job as a gardener in one of the college gardens. This throws her into the path of the brooding Richard, brilliant scientist and college head and a man with his own painful secrets. I’ve got a new cover look too, which I attach for you to see.
Alexa is a class-hopping cruise missile aimed at the very top of the gold-digging tree. Only a title, mansion and family tiara will do. Befriending feckless aristo Florrie means the prince of her dreams is in sight. But has Florrie’s mother, the formidable Lady Annabel, rumbled what Alexa is up to?
Beautiful student Polly is in love. But is Max, the handsome young vet she’s found in a country lane, quite as ordinary as he seems?
Passionate love, eye-widening snobbery and more than naked ambition abound in this contemporary Cinderella tale.
Want to see more? Check out…
Read an excerpt from Marrying Up
“Tapping into the nation’s joyous embrace of April’s royal wedding, the witty, wonderful Wendy Holden has assembled a dazzling cast of bronze-legged socialities, highly cheek-boned princes and Cinderella lookalikes to entertain her army of fans this summer.“ DAILY MAIL
★★★★ “No 1 Entry “a brilliant juicy Cinderella tale” HEAT
★★★★★ “This fabulously witty story of love, social-climbing and downright snobbery is a riot of a read.” CLOSER
“Pin-sharp social-climbing comedy” GRAZIA
“Social snobbery and barefaced ambition… a modern fairytale that chimes perfectly with our post-Wills-and-Kate world” GLAMOUR
★★★★ “Love moves in mysterious ways…” STAR MAGAZINE
“Light as a feather royal romp” BELLA
“Witty, raunchy” GRAZIA
“Wendy Holden on form is a thing to behold” DAILY MIRROR
“The perfect choice” GLAMOUR
“Holden’s trademark satire here acquires an extra bite” GUARDIAN
“Up there with the best of Jilly Cooper” THE TIMES
Alice wants her own art gallery but at the moment she's running her nightmare boss Angelica's, full of gold-sprayed wheelchairs, hairy pebbles and heads made of frozen wee. Her love life's just hit a major Blue Period as well. Worse, she has to cope with Zeb, an egomaniac bad-boy contemporary artist whose works go for bazillions. But along comes Dan, a handsome, brilliant young portrait artist for whom life is far from easel. He's single, skint and scraping a living holding village hall life-drawing classes. Adding colour is a pop star who will do anything to regain his former fame, plus a sex-crazed billionairess who expects a lot more than mere paintings from the artists she patronises!
Want to see more? Check out…
How Gallery Girl made me into a cutting edge contemporary artist
Chapter One of Gallery Girl
“Wendy Holden is a brilliant writer...Great fun, filled with sparkling dialogue, witty asides and a fast-paced narrative. A real treat.” DAILY MAIL
“Wendy Holden on form is a thing to behold” DAILY MIRROR
“Holden's trademark satire here acquires an extra bite” GUARDIAN
“Holden gives the package of sex and snobbery a delightful contemporary spin” SAGA
“A fun, sexy romp” HEAT
“The perfect choice” GLAMOUR
“A big sexy romp of a read” DAILY MAIL
“A fabulously frothy tale of a woman drawn into the glamorous, sex-fuelled world of contemporary art” GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
Fame, love and happiness. Can anyone have it all?
Darcy's a struggling English-rose actress when The Call comes from LA. An Oscar-tastic director. A movie to make her famous. The hunkiest co-star in Hollywood. So why doesn't she want to go?
Belle's a size-zero film star but she's in big, fat trouble. Hotter than the earth's core a year ago, she's now Tinseltown toast after her last film bombed. Can she get back to the big time?
When the two women lock horns over men, movies and megadiets, there's more drama than even Hollywood can handle. And after a celebrity nanny, reluctant supermodel and passionate star chef enter the mix, things get seriously hot and spicy.
Beautiful People – extract
Belle's entire body surged with excitement as Niall's large, long, strong, jeaned thigh brushed hers. She swallowed and forcibly resisted the urge to run her long, manicured fingernails along it.
Her nostrils filled with an unfamiliar scent. It was, she realised, the unadulterated essence of man. Christian and most of her lovers before him had doused themselves with so much cologne you could smell them coming as their car turned the corner of the street. They had had more facial products in the bathroom than she had. But this – this was natural allure. Musky, sweaty, salty, darkly intimate. She was almost shuddering with desire now. This was what she had been waiting for. One hundred per cent solid, muscled, masculine, red-headed, mouth-watering, nipple-stiffening, gasp-making, rootin' tootin' prime beefcake.
Meanwhile, with a paparazzi flash of memory, Niall had recognised her. This was Belle Murphy the American film star. The ultimate Hollywood bimbette.
"Thank God for Wendy Holden. Beautiful People is exactly what a girl needs" DAILY MAIL
When romantic Mary meets Monty, handsome heir to a stately pile, happiness seems assured. But as the mansion crumbles, passion wanes.
Banker's wife Beth swaps Notting Hill for weekends at a bijou cottage. They only offered a smidgeon over the asking price. So why don't the locals like them?
Eco-harridan Morag is the terror of the village. She hates incomers, four-wheel drives, slug pellets and anyone between her and absolute power.
Uber-WAG Alexandra needs a footballer's mansion – fast. There must be a Hello!-tastic palace with pool, gym, champagne bar and helipad somewhere?
When these four face each other in a struggle over sex, power and money – not to mention allotments – village life is never the same again.
Filthy Rich – extract
Alexandra had earmarked a million at least for the wedding. She was definitely going to be a princess. What should she wear? Dior or de la Renta? Choo or Blahnik? Should a Swarovski crystal tiara secure a cathedral-length veil, or pink rosebuds riot romantically round her hair extensions?
There would be huge candles everywhere and a green and white theme for the flowers. Simple and understated was the idea. Giant lilies and thousands of huge white roses. Although a dark pink and opal theme in huge trumpet vases was a possibility as well.
For canapés, she'd narrowed it down to three; fillet of beef with fondant potato and béarnaise sauce, tomato tarts with glazed goat's cheese and sweet potato hash browns with beef, chili and avocado salsa. On the other hand, sashimi of tuna wrapped in mooli with a wasabi dip sounded good, or what about white truffle and parmagiana soufflé?
The choices were haunting her dreams. John had woken up several times to hear her murmuring in her sleep.
"What did I say?" she asked, panic-stricken.
"Something about fresh crab with caviar and sour cream and cornfed chicken and feta salad with mint in a watermelon box with aged balsamic vinegar."
Cakewise, the current front runner was a ten-tier white chocolate tower rioting with chocolate roses painted with edible pearl and with a matching pearlised stepladder to climb to cut the top layer. Photographerwise, she spent sleepless nights trying to decide between Annie Liebovitz and Mario Testino. But the party would be the real test of her ingenuity, Alexandra knew, not to mention John's bank balance. For months now she had eagerly been seeking inspiration, but the right thing had not yet sprung to mind. Things rarely sprang in the region of Alexandra's mind unless her hairclips worked loose.
'Fun and irrepressible, Holden claims Jilly Cooper's crown" GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
The School for Husbands
Sophie's not happy with her husband. Mark works late, never phones and leaves all the housework and childcare to her. She's also sure he's up to something with his sexy publishing colleague. Things come to a head and she moves back to her parents. Her mother never liked Mark anyway.
Desperate to save his family, Mark enrols at the "School for Husbands', a residential college which transforms pathetic partners into husbands from heaven. Classes include love skills, sparkling conversation and the finer points of chocolate. But will this be enough to reunite him with Sophie? Especially now a rich old flame is after her…
The School For Husbands - extract
"I love you," said Dr Martha, passionately.
Rupert did not look as if this intelligence was welcome.
"I love you," Dr Martha repeated. "That's what you need to say. The three simplest, most wonderful words in the language."
"I love you," Rupert said woodenly to the centre of the opposite wall.
Dr Martha clutched her ears in despair. "No, no, no. Sound as if you really mean it. Imagine I'm your wife. I'm Annabel. You're desperate not to lose me."
"I love you," repeated Rupert with no perceptible increase in warmth.
"Now tell everyone," the therapist commanded.
There were a few moments of laden silence. "I love you," Rupert said to Mark, who nodded briefly before looking, embarrassed, at the floor.
"I love you," Rupert told Charlie, who leant forward, clapped him on the arm and croaked "I love you too, mate'.
Rupert rolled his eyes. "I love you," he sighed at Andy, who looked doubtful.
"Where are your response skills, Andy?" Dr Martha chided.
Andy looked defensive. "I'm quite good in goal, actually."
"Look," said Dr Martha. "Rupert's freely giving you an emotional present which you've got to freely accept. A big part of loving is believing you can be loved. So – receive!"
Andy tried to look as worthy of Rupert's affections as he could manage.
"That's better!" Dr Martha exclaimed. "And you're a natural, Rupert. You're full of love, you see. It just needed unlocking."
Rupert looked horrified.
“Giggles galore in this lively romp. A perfect bathtime read” OK!
The Wives of Bath
A tale of yummy mummies with flat brown tummies...
Four parents-to-be seem ante-natally sorted. Flash Hugo and Amanda have booked a chic private clinic and royal maternity nurse. Right-on Jake and Alice want an all-natural home birth with whale music and tree-hugging nappies.
But nothing goes quite to plan. Amanda finds motherhood less glam than the stars make it look and disappears back to her career. Which leaves Hugo with the child and without a clue what to do.
Alice has problems too. Bringing up baby to Jake's eco-fascist standards means home-made organic everything and a recycled cardboard cot.
Will nappiness bring happiness to anybody? Not before bedhopping spouses, beastly bosses and bitchy nursery mothers have all done their dreadful worst...
The Wives of Bath - extract
Everyone gathered beside the recycled cardboard Christmas tree for the present-opening. Alice watched tensely as her mother began to pick apart the toilet paper covering her gift. "I suppose," Mrs Duffield remarked brightly, "we should be grateful that this hasn't been used before as well!"
As her father guffawed, Alice did not dare look at Jake. "It's made from an old computer keyboard,' she told her mother, who was releasing from its confines a drinks-can ring-pull on which two chunky initials had been clumsily attached. "It's a ring," she added, rather desperately.
"How lovely," said Mrs Duffield in strained tones. She slipped it on beside her Garrard diamonds and stretched out her hand to admire the effect.
Alice's father, meanwhile, who detested gardening, was staring nonplussed at his garden-kneeler made from strips of old wallpaper.
They had bought Jake some Umberto Eco novels. "Joke, you see," Alice's mother urged him. "Eco, get it? You being such a committed environmentalist.
But Jake was not smiling. His brow clenched as he examined the volumes; he was, Alice knew, calculating the exact amount of tree involved. He was further offended over the flashing, talking Minnie Mouse Alice's parents had bought their granddaughter and which Rosa, now up after her lunchtime sleep, adored on sight. Jake stormed into the kitchen muttering furiously about cultural imperialism and grandparental gifts that compromised parental values. Alice followed him and put a hand on his shoulder. "Sweetheart, it's Christmas. Relax a bit, can't you?"
"Irresistible rom-com meets devilish satire…[a] hilarious portrait of modern parenthood" INSTYLE
Azur Like It
Love in a hot climate. A comic romance in the south of France.
Kate, a journalist in a small northern town, is fed up with covering black-pudding championships for the Slackmucklethwaite Mercury and living with Mum, Dad and Gran in a semi called Wits End. When evil tycoon Peter Hardstone takes over the paper, slashes budgets and sacks staff, Kate's career hits an all-time low.
Gloom turns to glamour once Hardstone's sexy son arrives to work on the Mercury. And when Kate's sent with him to cover the glittering Cannes Film Festival, she can't believe her luck. But it's not all fun and games in the playground of the rich. Behind the glitz and sunshine lies a dark mystery that becomes Kate's most challenging newspaper assignment yet.
Azur Like It – extract
Just then, a gust of sea air buffeted through the open car window and blew the burning end of ash straight on to her dress. Before Kate could brush it away it had scorched a gaping, black-edged hole the size of a euro into the pink silk expanse. She cried out in horror. The dress was ruined. Worse, the hole could hardly be more noticeable, being just above her nipple. What were the impossibly glamorous guests at this impossibly glamorous party going to think? Not to mention Nat.
Celia twisted round. "Oh dear'.
"Never mind," grinned Lance, eyes slitty with amusement in the rearview mirror. "No-one's going to be looking at you anyway."
"Ms Holden always heads straight to the No. 1 spot with tongue firmly in cheek" GLAMOUR
Unbridled lust. Unlimited excess. Unbelievable egos…
Ruthless hack Belinda wants a rich and famous man. Her problem is that interviewing Z-list celebs for a tabloid's Tea Break slot means zero opportunity for megastar-bagging. /p>
Unassuming Grace just wants a quiet life. Her problems include an egomaniac boyfriend, a matchmaking mother and a publishing job with the authors from hell.
Scheming Belinda finally finds fame, while Grace has it thrust upon her in the shape of a handsome film star. But life among the A-list is anything but easy. Amid unbridled lust, unlimited excess and unbelievable egos the girls' lives spectacularly collide. And then the real problems begin.
Fame Fatale - extract
The penthouse suite's double doors were slightly ajar. Automatic opening, Grace assumed; she must have been spotted and authorized by some hi-tech surveillance system. She pushed one door open further. A soft cream sea of carpet rolled smoothly away towards tassel-trimmed damask sofas the size of cross-Channel ferries. A huge wide-screen television looked almost inconsequential in the far distance. Grace padded forward and put her head into the first room she came to. A bathroom, but not just any bathroom. Easily the size of her entire flat, it was covered in black and white marble from gleaming floor to shining ceiling. A pair of giant handbasins flanked a vast round Jacuzzi bathtub, the chrome heated towel rails cascaded with fluffy whiteness and the shower was the size of a lift. A big lift.
"Mr Campion?' Grace called softly. Was he really not there? Not so much as a sushi chef seemed in evidence, let alone a personal trainer, food-taster, feng shui consultant, PR adviser, stylist or any other of the army of personal assistants that stars of Red Campion's megawattage were reportedly unable to leave home without.
She hesitated before another half-open door. Peering in, she saw it was a bedroom...
"A hilarious, touching romp through stardom, sex and addiction to celebrity" COSMOPOLITAN
From SW7 to rural heaven…
Cash-strapped Rosie and her boyfriend Mark are city folk longing for a country cottage. Rampantly nouveaux-riches Samantha and Guy are also searching for rustic bliss – a mansion complete with mile-long drive and hot and cold running gardeners.
The village of Eight Mile Bottom seems quiet enough, despite a nosy postman, a reclusive rock star, a glamorous Bond Girl and a ghost with a knife in its back. But there are unexpected thrills in the hills. The local siren seduces Guy while a farmer fatale rocks Rosie's relationship. Then a mysterious millionaire makes an offer she can't refuse. But should she?
Pastures Nouveaux - extract
It was obvious to Rosie that, given what the estate agents referred to as their "restrictive financial situation', her vision of a romantic country cottage ranked somewhere above asking for the moon. As the day went on, the yawning chasm between agents' descriptions and the bricks-and-mortar reality became increasingly evident. Property details, they realised, contained a whole code of euphemisms – "lots of potential' translated as "lots of work' while "garden in transitional state' usually referred to an area entirely paved over with concrete through whose unsightly cracks grass and weeds were steadily gaining ground. Details such as "door, Suffolk latch, painted white' were often a ruse to distract attention from the bigger picture, such as the house not being wired for electricity.
"I'll tell you what we need," Mark said as they scrambled back into the battered Peugeot after viewing a former abbatoir ("Conversion Opportunity').
Rosie sighed. "A seventeenth century cottage with beams, large fireplaces, a garden and a sound roof at about a third of the price the agents are asking?"
"Delicious mayhem... Holden has pulled it off again" THE TIMES
Bad Heir Day
She thought she'd met Lord Right. But then it all went wrong.
Anna's boyfriend Seb is impossibly handsome, impossibly rich and generally just impossible. When eventually he dumps her, she vows to give up men and throw herself into her career. Which is how she ends up personal assistant to bestselling author Cassandra. The social climber from hell, Cassandra has a huge house in Kensington, a philandering rock star husband and the spawn of Satan for a son. So when desperate-to-escape Anna meets dashing Jamie, charming heir to a castle in Scotland, she can't believe her luck. And she probably shouldn't...
Bad Heir Day - extract
"But surely you heard the pipes?" Jamie looked at Anna with surprise.
"Oh yes." Come to think of it, she had heard some rushes and rattles and gurgles from the direction of the bathroom, counterpointed by the occasional distant explosion. Still, the castle was an old place and noisy plumbing was preferable to no plumbing at all. "Oh, and I heard the most horrible yowling noise an hour or so ago," she told him. "Like a cat being tortured to death."
Jamie looked annoyed. "That's what I mean. The bagpipes. When the laird, i.e. me, is in residence MacLoggie plays under the windows every morning."
"But does he have to do it so early?"
"Early!" Jamie sounded indignant. "He usually does it at six. This morning he did it at eight as a special favour. You were very honoured."
Anna plastered what she hoped was a suitably awestruck expression across her face. This became apprehensive as she now sensed something massive and frightening in the doorway behind her.
"Ah, Nanny," Jamie said. "This is Anna. My fiancŽe."
"A romp of a novel. Holden writes with delicious verve and energy. Lie back and enjoy it" MAIL ON SUNDAY
Champagne D'Vyne is a celebrity socialite with a charmed life – and a mania for men, money and fame. Jane is a journalist with an ordinary life – love stress, work stress and a spare tyre that won't go away. As their contrasting worlds become bizarrely intertwined, Jane realises that the blonde, busty and blatantly ambitious Champagne will let nothing come between her and what she wants. Least of all Jane.
Simply Divine - extract
"Champagne D'Vyne had never looked more beautiful. Her white-blonde hair streamed over her fragile shoulders. Her knuckleduster cheekbones glowed with the merest hint of blusher, and through the clinging folds of her thin dress, her nipples protruded like screwed-out lipsticks. Her brilliant green eyes raked Jane up and down like searchlights as she stretched out a hand heavy with rings. "I don't believe we've met."
"We have, actually," Jane said boldly. "I'm Jane from Fabulous magazine."
Champagne's six-seater lips parted with astonishment. "Well, you scrub up well, I must say," she blurted. She looked pointedly at Jane's dress. "I tried that one on," she added sweetly. "But it looked cheap and nasty on me." She paused. "Suits you, though."