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Cressmouth to Christmas: Book Review

Making Merry Book Cover Making Merry
12 Dukes of Christmas
Erica Ridley
historical fiction,
Erica Ridley
OCt 2020
Kindle
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Prologue novella exclusive to VIPs.

Free book for VIP Readers only.

This book actually talks about the background history to Cressmouth and how it became a Christmas village

It tells you of the people who were instrumental in setting up the various elements that produced the final village and the rationale for how it was set up – so for instance the villagers paid for a 100 years lease with no further rent with one Guinea. This ensured that no greedy landlord could impoverish them in the future.

It was also agreed that the food and entertainment and so on would be free to all, but when you take into account the amount of rent that they were going to charge for the Castle apartments, in fact the food and all the entertainments would be paid for with a hefty profit. Because every time they talked about the rent for the Castle apartments, the price went up, until it was over a year’s rent for a London town house. So this meant that if you could afford to rent one of the Castle apartments you got bragging rights, and your name would be inserted into the regular newsletters that was sent out by the Christmas owners and management, which therefore would bring in money, rather than paying out for adverts in other people’s newsletters.

There was also to be an annual edition which would bring out all the annual highlights, and would be charged for as a picture book that would be kept.

We know about the stringent terms on which the shops were leased from the previous story about the jeweller in which there were seven years to pay back the loan or you lost everything.

All of which meant that Christmas was profitable and yet appeared to be free for all to enjoy.

It was therefore organised so that the nobility and the rich paid up and those with no money paid nothing.

I’m going to give this one five stars because I like the rational of how Christmas was arranged. Below are the 12 books that complete this series.

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BookBlitz: What Secrets has she got?

Secrets of a Duke’s Daughter
The Duchess’s Investigative Society, #1
Samantha Holt
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance
Independent
March 8th 2021

A duke’s daughter must be prepared for whatever life—and love—throws her way…

Lady Cassandra Fallon is finally ready to take control of her life and join her late mother’s investigative society. She’s more than confident she can do the job—even when her first case involves a potentially deadly scandal. What she’s not quite prepared for is her brother’s attractive (and increasingly distracting) friend acting as her self-appointed bodyguard…

When Lord Luke promised his best friend he’d keep an eye on Cassie, he meant it. But the brazen and entirely too alluring woman she’s become is a far cry from the mischievous, freckled girl she used to be. Luke knows a lowly viscount has no business longing for (or touching) a duke’s daughter. But against all reason…he does…

She craves independence. He only craves her. An epic battle of the sexes is at hand. But will love be enough to get them to happily ever after? Cassie and Luke will soon find out…

A duke’s daughter must be prepared for whatever life—and love—throws her way…⁣

⁣⁣⁣USA Today Bestselling author @samantha_and_duke is back with a new series, The Duchess’s Investigative Society! Book 1, Secrets of a Duke’s Daughter, is out NOW! Get it FREE on #KindleUnlimited ➞ https://amzn.to/3kLvM2F⁣

⁣⁣⁣#Bibliophile #Bookshelf #BookClub #Bookish #Booksy #BookNerd #BookWorm #hisfic #historicalromance #SamanthaHolt #XpressoTours @XpressoTours #Bookstagram #bookstagrammer #BookBlogger #BookQueen #BookLove #BookStack #GoodReads #BookShark #BookCommunity #ReadersOfInstagram #BookBabe #Reading #BookAesthetic #BookishPost

Excerpt One:

“Anton will not be pleased you are keeping secrets.”

“Anton is not here, and even if he were, he would not be as tiresome as you are being.” She shook her head. “I know you mean well, Luke, but I am not going to get into trouble as my brother fears and it is rather tedious to be treated as though I am still a little girl.”

Oh he well knew that. If she were, he would not have to dwell on how womanly she appeared in her powder blue pelisse. More slender than technically fashionable, her figure still teased, the coat hugging under her breasts and offering a hint of curves.

Luke prided himself on being an equal opportunities sort of a man, finding himself attracted to a variety of traits but there was something about the tall length of Cassie that made him want to claw at his gut to rid himself of the itch there.

If he had a penny for every time he’d thought of her naked over the last year or so he’d be, well, still too poor to afford Cassie’s upkeep but it would certainly buy a decent meal. His desire to see her long legs, bare and spread out on his sheets, or those delicate breasts free of their confines bordered on the obscene.

He clenched his jaw and watched their progression through the busy London streets. Drivers cursed one another and pedestrians darted between the vehicles, slowing the journey to an agonizing pace. He needed it over as soon as possible so he could breathe Cassie-free air and rid himself of this madness.

Because, damn it, she was Anton’s little sister.

“I will never understand why you do Anton’s bidding. Surely you have better things to do with your time?”

He allowed a tight smile. Cassie had little idea quite how wild he had been back in his college days and how close he had come to ruining his life forever. He considered that perhaps he should tell her and frighten her away for good, but he couldn’t bring himself to see the disappointment in her gaze.

“I gave Anton my word to protect you, Little Cassie, and I am a man of my word.”

She made a dismissive noise and lifted her gaze to the roof of the closed carriage. “You men and your word. I would rather see action than words.”

Luke’s throat tightened and he swallowed hard, but the knot did not budge. She wanted action. He wanted to give it to her. By some miracle, he managed to remain on his seat and resist the desire to leap across the gap between them and pin her to her chair, ensuring they went absolutely nowhere while he showed her exactly what sort of action he was capable of.

“I am here, in your carriage, escorting you to your friend’s house.” He forced a relaxed smile that felt borderline fraudulent. “That is action, Cassie.”

The redness in Cassie’s cheeks deepened. “Must you be so…relentless.”

“I must.”

“Well, I do not care what anyone has told you, it is a frustrating trait.”

Luke smirked to himself. Frustrated by him she might be, but he doubted Cassie felt even half of the frustration he suffered by simply being in her company.

Today would be a long day.

Book & Author Details:

AUTHOR BIO:

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Samantha Holt is known for fun, witty, and usually steamy historical romances. She’s been a full-time writer for longer than she ever thought possible having originally trained as a nurse and an archaeologist. She’s a champion napper, owner of too many animals, mum to twins, and lives in a small village near the very middle of England.

She’s usually writing (or napping) but when she’s not, Samantha is plotting (books of course!) with her husband, drinking coffee, climbing hills that are far too high for her fitness levels or visiting stately homes and pretending she’s posh.

You can claim a free book by signing to to her newsletter www.samanthaholtromance.com

If you’re not sure where to start, why not try:

Capturing the Bride (The Kidnap Club #1). A fun Regency read full of spice and an unusual heroine trying to escape an arranged marriage and a hero who has no idea how to keep his hands off her!

You’re the Rogue That I Want (Rogues of Redmere #1) is a longer read with heat, witty dialogue, a feisty heroine and adventure. All books in the series are standalone.

There Are Plenty More Dukes in the Sea (The Inheritance Clause #1) is a fun, steamy read focused on the Templeton family as they fight to save their inheritance.

Wake Me With a Kiss is a sweet, fairytale romance. Twists on Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are also available if you love a clean, fun read.

To Steal a Highlander’s Heart is a full length dive into the world of sexy highlanders. For those who love braw Scots, some steamy scenes, and medieval romance, this series is a perfect escape.

Author links:

https://www.facebook.com/samanthaholtromance/

https://www.instagram.com/samantha_and_duke/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6458884.Samantha_Holt

https://samanthaholt.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=cd4c9a291cda3d8398f6cc6b2&id=497911adeb

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What might you dare? Book Reviews.

All available for free on KU.

Once upon a time there were a series of books about women living in the Regency period who dared. Who dared each other to do something somewhat scandalous in that period of time. There are 12 books in this series – and another series just starting about their daughters. [You should be aware that due to timing of babies and that one marriage had 8 children, daughters were being born just as the oldest daughters were being married – not that wasn’t unusual in those days, it happened to my own grandmother!]

The books are of course rather feminist in tone and include women who dare to break the conventions – to begin with because the original set of ladies were unconventional – bookworms, unmarriageable due to birth circumstances, and so on. So they formed a club – The Peculiar Ladies. Note that birth circumstances in that time included being Irish or Scottish as well as partly Indian, illegitimate, without a dowry etc etc and definitely including having some intelligence and showing it. Remember, this was a time when the law made women effectively chattels. Once married they were ‘owned’ by their husbands. There was no law to protect them from any abuse, their property was controlled by their husbands unless it was legally tied up before their marriage as some fathers did, and opinions were things they should not have. Some men went so far as to forbid their wives to read because it meant they might form their own opinions rather than accepting his.

Now 12 books is too many to review. Suffice to say they are all fun, include some naughty Bridgerton scenes, and I shall indicate by an image for each one, the denouement or a keen clue.

To Dare a Duke (Girls Who Dare Book 1) (29 Mar 2019)

To Steal a Kiss (Girls Who Dare Book 2) (3 May 2019)

To Break the Rules (Girls Who Dare Book 3) (7 Jun 2019)

To Follow her Heart (Girls Who Dare Book 4) (9 Aug 2019)

To Wager with Love (Girls Who Dare Book 5) (13 Nov 2019)

To Dance with a Devil (Girls Who Dare Book 6) (12 Dec 2019)

To Winter at Wildsyde (Girls Who Dare Book 7) (7 Feb 2020)

To Experiment with Desire (Girls Who Dare Book 8) (20 Mar 2020)

To Bed the Baron (Girls Who Dare Book 9) (24 Apr 2020)

To Ride with the Knight (Girls Who Dare Book 10) (29 May 2020)

To Hunt the Hunter (Girls Who Dare Book 11) (3 Jul 2020)

To Dance until Dawn (Girls Who Dare Book 12) (14 Aug 2020)

I thought I would just add a rider about marriage and the 3 ways you could marry in Regency times.

According to the Marriage Act of 1754 you could:

  1. Call Banns in a church where you were a congregant. as now.
  2. Have a Special Licence – which enabled you to marry in haste. Archbishop of Canterbury and allowed a marriage to take place anywhere, not just within a place of worship licenced for marriages. A handful were granted each year, usually to members of the upper reaches of the aristocracy. See Jane Austen’s London for more details of Marriage in Regency times.
  3. Obtain a Commons Licence. this was normally issued by one of the following – an Archbishop, an Archdeacon, the Minister of a named parish such as St Paul’s. You went to Doctor’s Commons in London for the Registry. There needed to be no impediments. You had to be over age of consent for marriage. Sometimes you had to provide a money bond. And in theory you needed to be resident in the Parish where you were to be married, for 4 weeks – but often ignored.
https://janeaustenslondon.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/marriage-licence-3.jpg

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What happens at house-parties – don’t tell!

The Bachelor Earl Book Cover The Bachelor Earl
Book 1 of 13: The Untouchables (13 Book Series)
Darcy Burke
Fiction, Historical, Regency
Darcy Burke Publishing
(17 Nov. 2020

The romantic prequel to the USA Today bestselling series, The Untouchables! This book includes bonus scenes from The Untouchables series featuring many of your favorite characters.

For two years following the death of her beloved husband, Eugenia, the Dowager Duchess of Kendal has grieved and kept to herself. Her cousin is hosting a house party and has persuaded Genie to attend—it’s the perfect opportunity to emerge from mourning. Genie is looking forward to seeing old friends but is shocked when she learns the true purpose of the occasion: to match widowed ladies with widowed and unmarried gentlemen.

Once infatuated with a young Eugenia Aldwick, Edmund Holt, Earl of Satterfield is thrilled when Genie arrives at the matchmaking house party. Mutual attraction sparks between them immediately, however he is in need of a wife who can provide an heir and she is unable to do so. Genie would also dearly love to be a mother after losing her daughter several years before. Can they embrace a second chance at love or will the demands of his title and the pull of her maternal heart prove too strong to ignore?

 Matchmaking in a quite different way – Darcy finds us a new take on regency house parties.

Here’s what you never knew about Regency house-parties – they are intended – often – for matchmaking – and that doesn’t necessarily include marriage! If you are eligible – i.e. a widow – you can find a ‘match’ at some of these parties – rather discretely – but not so much if the hostess gives you a map to who’s sleeping where!

Well who knew…. swingers and all.

Except that sometimes the people attending are not in that scene and didn’t realise just what kind of party they had been invited to and then get rather a shock.

But why not? Why assume that affairs are something we invented? We certainly didn’t, and if house parties for partner swapping or just discrete enjoyment happen now then why not then? I don’t know if it historically accurate but who cares, it is a fun scenario to imagine and a vastly different setting for a romance.

I enjoyed it.

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When a horse is aristocratic

Ten Days with a Duke Book Cover Ten Days with a Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas
Erica Ridley
Fiction, Romance, Regency
Erica Ridley
November 13, 2020
200

From a New York Times bestselling author: a second chances, enemies-while-lovers reunion romance where nothing is as it first appears, and everyone’s motives are suspect… Olive Harper's family has been feuding with the Westons for decades. The Westons’ stud farm is the biggest, but the Harpers’ is the most famous... and she's the sole heiress. Or was, until her father brokers a truce by offering the Weston heir the Harper farm. The only way to get it back is to marry the knave who kissed her and humiliated her, twice—or prove to her father that some rifts can never be healed. Scholar and botanist Elijah Weston is dreadful at feuding. For one, he prefers horticulture to horses. For two, he's been desperately in love with his mortal enemy ever since he kissed her—and, yes, publicly destroyed her—all those years ago. When he's given ten days to win Olive's heart, he arrives with marriage license in hand. But where lies and double-crosses abound, how can lifelong rivals learn to trust their hearts? The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!

So we are back in Cressmouth aka Christmas where we have a horse ranch that that we have we have heard about before as they supply the horses that pulled the sledges up the very steep High Street; and of course Prinnie, the Prince Regent, wanted to buy Duke the amazing stallion who doesn’t like anyone to ride him – apart from one person – that is the person who nursed him through his foal- hood, who bottle fed him and who trained him. Our heroine in other words.

However as we know, in Regency times we have come across this problem before – women cannot inherit or own property  – they need a man, and so it’s necessary for our heroine to find a man. Also her father thought she should be married so that she could then own the horse farm through him, or at least that’s what he told her.

He had long ago had a major argument with his partner which had led to the horse business being split into 2;  one part in Christmas and the other part in London. He now contacted his ex-London partner to facilitate a rapprochement, and suggested that his son might marry our heroine and this is where the Story starts. There is one problem however with the London son – he’s a botanist doesn’t really like horses. He is concerned with a major avenue of research – finding a herbal remedy for when the placenta is retained in childbirth – as this leads to the mother bleeding out – as his own mother had. Of course, this does not please his father, but he continues, and is in need of money to hire the necessary scientists for his project. He thus agrees to woo the heroine in =exchange for funding from his father.

 I’ve looked into some of the plants that are mentioned here in the book to see which ones do have some medicinal impact and some of them certainly do, others are really just decorative. The first one mentioned is nelumbo nucifera also known as the sacred Lotus or Indian Lotus. It is completely edible in all its parts and may be an antidepressant or anti diabetic; the second plant mentioned is olea sylvestris which is in fact the wild olive and as we know olives are very edible indeed. There is a mention of the grass that the horses have in their pasture – phleum pratense,  this is a perennial grass and actually isn’t all that good for horses to eat when it is still green. It is sometimes called cats tail and is especially good when added to hay as it produces fibre and is good for the horses teeth as it is rather tough.

One of the things being researched into are plants that can induce Labour. Sometimes midwives will recommend castor oil or raspberry tea, or blue cohosh tea. However, there are no reliable studies to support that any of them actually work.

There are two orchids that are also mentioned, a Costa Rican orchid also called the Easter orchid –

Cattleya mossiae orchid plant care and culture | Travaldo's blog

– and an epiphytic orchid from the Asian Sub Continent which is miniature and very floriferous called vanda ampullacea.

🌿 Vanda ampullacea, formerly Ascocentrum ampullaceum - Compact Orchid  Species | eBay

This series is fun and the Dukes in question are often unexpected. In this particular book, the Duke is a horse. I always enjoy this writer and is interesting to see that she has brought into the story plants from the part of the world in which she lives – Costa Rica. Which is a wonderful plant friendly  part of the world!

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