I think this story stole the free spot I’d left blank when I first made my list for the 15 Books For Christmas Challenge. Truth be told, I’m well over the fifteen by now, but I won’t let that stop me from enjoying the Christmas reads!
They have loved each other since childhood, but life has not been kind to either of them. James Highcliffe’s arranged marriage had been everything but loving, and Lady Joy’s late husband believed a woman’s spirit was meant to be broken. Therefore, convincing Lady Jocelyn Lathrop to abandon her freedom and consider marriage to him after twenty plus years apart may be more than the Earl of Hough can manage. Only the spirit of Christmas can bring these two together when secrets mean to keep them apart.
Award-Winning Finalist in the Fiction: Novella category of the 2019 International Book Awards – “Lady Joy and the Earl”
Available on Amazon and via Kindle Unlimited.
One of the items I’d been hoping to find for this Christmas reading season was a Christmas historical romance novella. Well, I googled just that and Goodreads suggested Lady Joy and the Earl. I can most certainly say this story hit the spot. I enjoyed every page and found the characters to be quite engaging.
Somehow I missed that this story would be about two ‘older’ characters. Of course, in this time period, anyone over the age of thirty was considered over the hill! I loved that Joy and James are in their forties, have raised their children and are now free to live life more on their own terms than by society’s dictates. They’ve both suffered through loveless marriages. Joy’s, however, was abusive. While there are no graphic descriptions of the abuse she endured, it’s not glossed over.
As the story progresses, more and more is revealed about Joy and James in the past; their past together and separately. I kept wanting to find out what happens next in both the present day and the years gone. There are truths to be revealed and overcome before our protagonists can enjoy their happily ever after. While some secrets aren’t surprising, there are still a few twists to enjoy.
There are several typos throughout the book. However, it was not enough to distract from my enjoyment of the story.
The Christmas element: The Christmas season described in this book is the first one in many years to be fully celebrated by both Joy and James and their respective families. The protagonists happily reminisce about their shared history and recreate some of their most cherished traditions. Their children also add in their own touches to the festivities. From the games, to the decor to the food, a wonderful Christmas setting is staged.
Overall, I found this to be a sweet, romantic, hopeful holiday story. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, historical read this season. I give Lady Joy and the Earl 4.5/5 espresso shots.