When November rolls around, I start getting a hankering for reading Christmas novels. I love seeing a variety of authors crank out a sweet holiday tale that offers comfort and a bit of escape during an often stressful time of year. With covid casting a shadow over this year's holiday gatherings, readers may need some extra solace now more than ever before. In Joy to the World readers will travel back in time and experience Christmas Regency style. Here's a taste of what the three novellas offer.
Novella #1: "Heaven and Nature Sing" by Carolyn Miller
Edith and George, once romantically linked are awkwardly thrown together over the holidays. Edith is still in mourning from a family member's death and George never fully understood why Edith broke things off. Seeing one another challenges Edith's resolve to forget him and Georde's ability to move on with his life. Although she regrets her decision, will Edith let her pride keep her from a happily ever after? Will the pressure of their hostess influence thair future? I had a bit of a struggle staying with this story (only because indecisive people who are always seconding guessing things kind of drive me crazy), but on cold winter day, it still offers a nice distraction from a mile long to do list!
Novella #2: "Far as the Curse is Found" by Amanda Barratt
When a disfigured stranger protects Jenny from what could have been a brutal assualt, she is relieved to make it safely home to her baby. But when she later falls ill and subsequently loses her only source of income, she doesn't know how she can go on. The mysterious stranger comes to her rescue yet again and prevents her from making a decision she may well regret. Offering her employment at his estate seems like Providence, but what does she really know about her empoyer? I felt the book had some "Beauty and the Beast" and "My Fair Lady" vibes. A touching look at what happens when two lonely and broken people learn to trust one another. Yes, it was a bit predictable but it was a sweet story that offered a valuable morale that it's more important to judge a person's heart than their appearance. This was a story I wish had been longer!
Novella #3: "Wonders of His Love" by Erica Vetsch
Cilla is a recent widow continuing to live on the estate of her mother-in-law--the commanding matriarch of the family. Always a quiet young woman, widowhood has made her even quieter. The services of a painter have been procured to paint the portraits of the Duke (the younger brother to Cilla's deceased husband) and his wife the Duchess. Hamish Sinclair waltzed in from Scotland adding a splash of color and energy to the estate, making this holiday particularly memorable. As her mother-in-law tries to arrange a second marriage for Cilla, readers will delight in seeing Cilla transform from a subservient daughter-in-law into a woman who can think for herself. (I'm not sure someone in her time period and station would have had the same freedom, but readers will most likeley forgive those liberties.)
Joy to the World offers three Regency romances that are clean and wholesome. Yes, readers will most likely guess the endings, but the setting and descriptions will draw the reader into the story and provide a few hours of cheer this holiday season--something we all could use!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Joy to the World from Kregel Publishing for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.