They have loved each other since childhood, but life has not been kind to either of them. James Highcliffe’s arranged marriage had been everything but loving, and Lady Joy’s late husband believed a woman’s spirit was meant to be broken. Therefore, convincing Lady Jocelyn Lathrop to abandon her freedom and consider marriage to him after twenty plus years apart may be more than the Earl of Hough can manage. Only the spirit of Christmas can bring these two together when secrets mean to keep them apart.
Well this is a wonderfully heart-warming and emotional seasonal story. I am a big fan of Regina Jeffers work, she has a real gift at story telling, she magically captures the readers attention with her charming stories which have some of the most wondrous characters who the reader can really get behind and cheer on. Lady Joy and The Earl is no different, I found this to be a magical story full of raw emotion and a delightful cast of character’s.
Jocelyn (or Joy) and James have been in love with each other since they were children, as their family’s estates are right next door to one and other, they often used to spend many hours and days together. They both new where they wanted their lives to go and that was to be together, unfortunately James’ father had already arranged a marriage for James ever since he was still in the cradle and it wouldn’t be with the neighbouring Marquess’ daughter. Joy was obviously devastated when hearing of James’ marriage, because she didn’t know the details of the arrangement she felt both cheated and disappointed that James would do such a thing to her after she had loved him all her life. Which into the an arranged marriage of her own, never to see each other for another twenty two years.
Both had very unhappy marriages, in different ways so twenty-two years later once widowed and past their moaning period they can both be and do what they want to be. For Joy that means she finally has her freedom, even if that freedom does come at a cost due to what happened when her husband died. She wants nothing more than to go about her life with her children and finally be able to live. For James there is only one thing that he wants, the one thing that was stolen from him; Joy! He is set on finally claiming his Joy for his own, just as he wanted in the first place. But first he must make it past her high defences, for she is far from the spirited woman he knew she has become a shell of her self and he knows that gentleness and a little Christmas magic is the only way forward for both of them to be happy.
Joy hasn’t had the best of luck, first the one man she loved with all her heart suddenly ups and marries someone else, true that it was all arranged when he was a baby, but she doesn’t know that. Her confusion and hurt is always there, even after twenty years apart her heart may do a jolt and speed up at the mere sight of this distinguished, handsome man but also present is her devastation. She was then married off to a horrible man and his treatment of her has left an imprint on her, she is such a wonderfully kind and loving woman but that sparkle tat James loved about er has been put out. But James, being the wonderfully self assure and slightly arrogant man – but in a very good way he can see that there is a flicker of the woman beneath the hurt, I love this man he really is wonderful and oh, so handsome he isn’t cruel or nasty he is utterly charming and he oozes sex appeal. Joy is an amazing woman, she is strong when it comes to her children and she is fierce yet she is vulnerable and fragile. I love the gentleness James shows her and how with his careful wooing she becomes her real self, I particular love the way he subtly flirts and cajoles her into bantering with him. So sweet and funny!
I love this book! The story is very well developed and refreshingly new for the genre, it moves from scene to scene flawlessly. But the thing that I do love about this sweet short story is the chemistry between the leads, James and Joy are a match made in heaven they have both been scarred – if emotionally scarred by the turn of the events when they were young. The feelings for each other is constant, you can feel the emotion on every page, from the rapidly beating hearts to the fact that they can’t stop gazing at one an other. It’s beautiful written, but I expected no less from talented Ms Jefffers .
Gorgeous story, just perfect!!
This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
Lady Joy and The Earl can be purchased from Amazon.