Denied the woman of his dreams by his father’s meddling, Calder Stafford has spent the last decade proving himself to be self-sufficient, austere, and utterly uninterested in joy. Now that he is the Duke of Hartwell, he’ll enact his revenge by abolishing the holiday traditions his father loved so well. His sisters will not sway him and neither will the woman—newly returned to town—who was stolen from him.
Returning to Hartwell to care for her mother, widow Felicity Garland is delighted to be back home, especially for the holidays. However, the jolly festivities she expects are nowhere to be found. When she goes to the source of the problem—the duke—she’s astonished to see how much the young man she once loved has hardened. It’s up to her to break through the impenetrable fortress around his heart—not just to save Christmas, but to save him.
Title: Joy to the Duke
Series: Love Is All Around #3
Author: Darcy Burke
Genre: Regency Romance, Christmas Romance
Published: November 12, 2019
Publisher: Darcy Burke Publishing
My Rating: 4.5 stars
I had been waiting for Calder’s story for certainly there had to be more behind his actions as shown to us in the earlier stories of his sisters finding their true love, even if Calder didn’t approve. To be frank, I wasn’t expecting to like Calder at all, and he still made that very difficult to do for a good portion of his story – the damage his manipulative father did to this man goes deep, very deep. Yet there were sparks, moments that gave me hope that Felicity could eventually reach the man he once was in spite of what time and circumstances have done to him.
I adored Felicity without a doubt. It didn’t take long to figure out exactly what Calder’s father, and her father in a lesser role, had done to them a decade ago. Felicity was the faster to be willing to let the past go for it does no good to hold on to something that cannot be changed. Calder, however, held on to his belief that he’s no good for her, that his drop into the depths of self-loathing is too deep to climb out of. When in fact – he’s scared. What if it turns out his father was right about him? Maybe love is not meant for him, ever. It will take one determined woman and sisters who love him in spite of himself to finally show Calder what the future is that he could be reaching for if only he’d take the risk and believe in Felicity, to believe in his own worth to make a very kind, loving, good husband for the woman he’s always loved.
I enjoyed JOY TO THE DUKE very much and it brings this series to the perfect conclusion. Seeing Bianca and Poppy again, along with their new husbands was simply icing on this cake. I loved the touch of ‘A Christmas Carol’ dreams for Calder, he needed to be shaken up quite badly. I’ll admit to finally liking Calder and I hope his redemption sticks. Yeah, it’s hard for me to trust in Calder now, and it shows but you should be making up your own mind by reading this story for yourself – you’ll enjoy yourself.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available for the Kindle