Series: The 12 Dukes of Christmas, #10
Release Date: October 9, 2020
Jonathan MacLean is on his way to Cressmouth to meet with the Duke of Nottingvale about investing in a business venture. Jonathan is a bit of a nomad, traveling around the country, but never staying anywhere long enough to lay down roots and he has a steadfast rule – he never visits the same place twice. He arrives to learn that the snow will certainly keep him in town longer than expected and will delay the arrival of the Duke and his business partner Calvin. Unable to just wait around for the snow to stop, he decides to venture out and meet the people of Cressmouth. He enters the jeweler’s shop and feels like he has been struck by lightning – the jeweler is the most stunning woman he has ever seen!
Angelica Parker is the jeweler in town, she came to Cressmouth seven years ago to make a name for herself. She was invited to set up shop by Mr. Marlowe and he made her an outrageous offer – he would provide her with rooms in the castle and a shop at no charge, but she must stay in Cressmouth for seven years – no exceptions – if she leaves, even for a day, the contract is void and she will owe an obscene amount of money, however, if she fulfills the contract, everything is hers, free and clear – this Christmas will be her seventh year and she is looking forward to travel – but she plans to stay in Cressmouth. Her family comes each year to visit her, but they don’t understand why Angelica agreed to the contract – they have a successful shop in London and think she should have married and stayed with them. Angelica longs to be acknowledged for her talent and knows that if she stayed in London – that would never happen. She is happy in Cressmouth, but still hasn’t achieved the recognition she dreams of. She has no idea how much her live will change when a handsome young man comes into her shop!
What a sweet novella this was! It is well written and chocked full of interesting historical facts regarding slavery in Regency-era Britain. Jonathan and Angelica are very complex characters and I am impressed by how well Ms. Ridley was able to flesh them out considering this is a novella. The story has a lot of emotion, some laughs, warmish love scenes, delightful secondary characters, compromise and a sweet HEA, complete with an epilogue. This book is the tenth book in the series, but it can easily be read as a standalone title with no problems.
I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me.