Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Love is All Around #3
Publication Date: 11/12/19
Number of Pages: Novella
Earlier this year, 2019, Darcy Burke realized that she didn’t have any Christmas books to her credit – and she promptly set about righting that grievous error. The wonderful result is the Love Is All Around trilogy. Each book is based somewhat on old Christmas tales. The first book, The Red Hot Earl, is loosely based on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the second book, The Gift of the Marquess, is loosely based on The Gift of the Magi, and this, the third book is based on A Christmas Carol. They are a lovely, lovely set of books – and while each can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend reading all three.
The series features the three Stafford siblings – Bianca, Poppy, and Calder – with an overarching theme of the St. Stephens Day celebration and support for Hartwell House which is a home for impoverished women and children. In Bianca and Poppy’s books, while they are finding their HEA’s, they are also wrangling with their brother about his canceling the St. Stephens Day celebration and discontinuing the dukedoms support of Hartwell House.
If you read the other books, you totally understand that Calder IS Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s cold, unfeeling, joyless, distrustful, miserly – you name it. As I was reading those earlier books, I had to wonder how this author could possibly redeem and reform Calder. It seemed to me there was little hope for such a man as he. Never fear – his story was wonderfully written and his redemption was heartwarming. As we learned more about his childhood and what his father did to him as a young man, it is easy to see how he became the cold, unfeeling man he was – much like Ebenezer Scrooge. As I read the last words, I let out a big sigh and smiled because Calder’s HEA was beautiful and so well deserved. It is hours later, and I still smile when I think of him.
Calder’s sisters have just told him that Felicity Templeton Garland is back in Hartwell. He can hardly believe it – what is she doing back here. She’s the cold-hearted woman who took his father’s money and then went away and left Calder with a broken heart. He has to see for himself and sets out for town where, sure enough, he sees her. He can’t take his eyes off her. He devours her with his eyes.
After Calder’s cruel rejection of her, Felicity and her family moved away from Hartwell and she did eventually marry. While she cared for her husband, she was never in love with him. Now she’s a widow and has come to Hartwell to care for her ill mother. She’s only there temporarily, but it is good to spend Christmas there and she’s looking forward to the St. Stephen’s Day festival. Well, she’s looking forward to it until she learns that the cold-hearted duke isn’t sponsoring it anymore.
Felicity can’t reconcile the warm, sweet, happy young man with whom she’d fallen in love and the cold, selfish, joyless, miserly man he appears to be today. The man she loved (loves) has to be in there somewhere and for his sake, she’s determined to find him.
It was a joy to see Calder realize that his father was still controlling him – even from the grave. It doesn’t take long for him to know that he still loves Felicity – what takes a while is for him to learn that he deserves to be loved.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.