12 Dukes of Christmas (Books 1-2): Holiday Romance Collection (Regency Romance Tasters) by Erica Ridley
The perfect series to get into the holiday spirit!!
Once upon a Duke:
Great characters, droll shenanigans, far too many dukes milling about and a love that will not be denied.
I always really enjoy reading Erica Ridley’s stories and this one was no different. She has a beautiful way with words that make her stories a delight to read. The whole Christmas/Cressmouth village could turn into a cloyingly sweet cliche, but instead it’s whimsical and charming. The joking and the initial bantering (bickering) between Noelle and Benjamin is very entertaining to read, Benjamin trying to be funny and Noelle trying very hard not to be amused by him.
At first Benjamin and Noelle seem very different, but as the story progresses, they discover that they actually have a lot in common and that brings them closer together. They are both caring and hardworking, and very much in need of family and people to love and be loved by in return. My heart ached for Benjamin over the whole locket/family thing.
There seem to be insurmountable objects blocking Noelle and Benjamin from reaching that elusive happily ever after…but luckily, it’s a romance and a holiday romance at that! So it all turns out absolutely wonderful in the end. As HEA go, this was a very satisfying one!
Kiss of a Duke:
I’m such a fan of Erica Ridley’s writing style, especially of the wonderfully quirky and sometimes even absurd humor that is such an important part of every story. Hiding wisdom and insight behind a laugh. Love it! Her books are also always well-researched, case in point all Penelope’s scientific knowledge, making her characters well-rounded and so very interesting.
I adored Penelope and Nicholas both. They each have their reasons for not believing in love, or rather for being afraid of being unlovable. I always love stories where “non-believers” find love and Penelope and Nicholas were very much in need of some loving, I rooted for them from the first. Love creeps up on them, and Nicholas is slightly more honest with himself than Penelope who insists on hiding behind her science. Nicholas is more cognizant of “the danger” of what’s happening, and still he consciously decides to stay the course and ultimately risk heart-break. He’s a bit more vulnerable than Penelope, because of that.
One of the (many) great things about this story is that both main characters are in their mid-thirties, because it’s rather unusual for a regency romance to feature a heroine of that ripe old age… So seeing a spinster who’s been “on the shelf” so long still find happiness was very refreshing, and it made the happy ending even more satisfying.
Another wonderful thing about this book is that we get a great cast of supporting characters, some of whom we already met in book 1 in this series, and hopefully all destined to find their own HEA in following books. My favorite one is without a doubt Virginia and her amazing advice and metaphors. Turr Turr. I wonder if she’ll be this wise and aware when it’s her turn.
I couldn’t put this set down and need to read more by this author!!
For more information, visit Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3hw1gN0