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The orphaned, poor relation h is invited to spend Christmas with a yet unheard branch of the family. Her grandfather was the younger son of a duke who married down for love and so was kicked out of the ducal fold. The invitation is hardly warm and comes from the present duchess, an autocratic and manipulative woman.

She has an agenda of her own that her son, the H realizes as soon as he receives a quite superfluous urging letter to be home for Ch This was interesting in a sweet and slow burn way. Matrimony is the name of the game. The h, by now is cognizant of the duchess' desire of making her the future daughter-in-law more of a putty-in-law actually. Why would the duchess want to marry her son to a poor, incompatible girl from the country — with no family, wealthy or otherwise to back her? The H reaches home and sets out to make an ass of himself to put off the h but the impression she takes is that the marquess is quite mad in the head and so no wonder they want to marry him off quickly and quietly.


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A veritable comedy of errors occurs with the pitying h trying to be nice and supportive to him, and the H getting entrapped in a deception of his own making. But I liked their gentle slowburn courting for all that it occurs within few days with the doubts on both sides slowly clearing away. Manegold was not an avid reader, but he approved of any room that contained two fireplaces.

The library added to these attractions by featuring pools of sunlight so huge that even a very large cat could fall blissfully asleep, unafraid of waking to find that the sunbeams had moved on and left him shivering in a shadow. He pointed a stern finger at the happy animal. Get down at once! He purred heedlessly on, gazing joyously at Celia. She gave a little spurt of laughter.

The romance takes place within days culminating on the midnight of Christmas. The cover depicts that scene on the decorated staircase where he invites her to declare his love and to listen to the tolling bells — or in this case being rung by coached servants hidden nearby.

Nevertheless, he and his wife and children were very happy, until a tragic il 3. Nevertheless, he and his wife and children were very happy, until a tragic illness took the lives of all of them except Celia, who was away from home at the time the illness struck. Now completely alone in the world, she is facing an uncertain future. The new resident of the vicarage will not be able to house her, and she has no other living relatives to call upon — until one day, she receives a visit from the Duchess of Arnsford, the strictly correct matriarch of the Delacourt family.

But the duchess has other ideas and plans for Celia to make Delacourt her permanent home. John has ever been a cause for concern — he is the only one of her children who is not completely under her thumb, and having had no success in matching him with one of the many eligible debutantes she has thrown into his way, has decided to take a different tack.

He arrives at the house wearing the most garish clothes imaginable, and acts like a complete ass, complete with an irritating, braying laugh. Like Lady Broome in that book, the duchess very quickly takes steps to make Celia feel indebted to her, but unlike her, the duchess reveals her purposes to Celia fairly quickly.

Jack is a funny, charming hero, albeit not an especially deep one. He is, however, quite perceptive towards Celia, and there are some lovely moments between the two of them which help the reader to buy into the idea that the pair really have fallen in love in the space of a couple of days. Once Upon a Christmas is a light-hearted read that delivers the required quota of good cheer and gentle humour. They're good sub-plots, though, with depth and feeling - and, IMO, rather more interesting than the main plot.

She is eventually grateful to marry a widower for whom 3. She is eventually grateful to marry a widower for whom she will be only a second-best love.

It's a bitter-sweet little story, and I'd love to read a continuation of it into their marriage. More bitter still is Jack's mother, the Duchess of Arnsford, married off to a man she can neither love nor respect, who has poured her love into the estate. Nominally, it's Jack she wants to get married off - in reality, she's looking for a suitable bride for her creation, the estate much like Lady Broome, in Heyer's Cousin Kate. Farr does this curdled love well.

It's emotionally much deeper than the ostensibly main story line. The heart of the book for me, though, is the relationship between the Duchess and her maid, Gertrude Hubbard. The Duchess is dying, dying painfully and stoically; no one knows but Hubbard, who offers the sort of silent support that's all the Duchess can allow herself to take.

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At one point, she realises that she and Hubbard have been together almost all their lives, and that Hubbard is her most intimate friend - though she would never put it that way. I get that the Duchess is supposed to be "the baddie" in this story, but Farr is too good at giving us her admittedly slightly warped PoV. I ended up caring for and crying over the passionate Duchess far more than for the superficial MCs.

But good.

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Apr 08, Jacqueline J rated it liked it Shelves: kindle-reads , masquerade-or-mistaken-identity , regency. A cute book but not as good as the other book I read by this author The Fortune Hunter. Somehow it didn't realize its potential.


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It was too short and neither of the two romances felt complete to me. A lot more could have been done with the set up of having the heroine think that the hero was mad. And it felt unfinished because we never found out what happened to the plotting duchess. Jul 28, Ilze rated it really liked it Shelves: 4-star-keepers , traditional-regency , diane-farr. Very enjoyable story. The characterization of the hero's cat is spot-on and how can you not love a hero who appreciates cats?

But why on earth did the publishers put such a dorky-looking pair on the cover of the edition of the book? View 1 comment. Oct 02, MRB rated it liked it. Sweet, quick Celia is a likable heroine and Jack, while not exactly the deepest and most nuanced hero you'll ever come across, is a charming, life-loving sweetheart.

The ending had me smiling like a sap even as I reflected that Jack and Celia's connection seemed a bit too much like 'inst Sweet, quick The ending had me smiling like a sap even as I reflected that Jack and Celia's connection seemed a bit too much like 'insta-love' to be credible. Jack's icy, ruthlessly elitist mother is too two-dimensional to be compelling. Others have summarized the plot better than I can, but in a nutshell: Scared of being married off by his aforementioned shrewish nightmare of a mother, Jack deliberately comes off like a lunatic in hopes of discouraging Celia, his mother's initial choice of a bride, from wanting to tie that proverbial knot.

It's quite a fun premise, actuallyand one I wish the author had done a bit more with. Overall, I'd say this is definitely worth reading if you get it at a low price and are craving something high on sweetness and charm despite being a bit rushed and low on substance View all 4 comments. Feb 06, M. I loved this book. It made me feel the whole gambit of emotions and did so without resorting to over-the-top melodrama or ludicrous plot twists. The synopsis makes it sound like a fluff piece, but I found that though the story doesn't include big, sweeping plot-lines, it does have deep characters with interactions and misunderstandings that are genuine and compelling.

The heroine is a great mix of conflicting emotions. At one moment she's tough and standing up for herself and the next, she's vuln I loved this book. At one moment she's tough and standing up for herself and the next, she's vulnerable and emotional. She's a character that rounded and is inconsistent at times. I love that at one point she even makes a characterization about herself to the hero and in his mind he disagrees with it--just like a lot of people, she doesn't see herself accurately.

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The hero is a little more flat as a character. I don't think he's a well-rounded as the heroine, but he does provide most of the comic relief in the story. Before he and the heroine meet, he is aware that his mother is trying to set them up and he decides to push the heroine away by making himself idiotic that he would be unattractive to her. However, while he means to come across as a fop and a fool, she believes him to be truly mentally unstable and treats him as such. There are a lot of great laugh out loud conversations and misunderstandings that are obvious to the reader, but not to the oblivious characters.

He's funny and likable, and a great pairing for the heroine. His mother is fantastic. She is certainly meant to be the villain of the piece, but she's really more of a flawed human who is doing what she really feels is best for everyone, but in reality is so tainted by her "good breeding" and arrogance to really do much good.

She's not loving, but she does care about her legacy and making sure that all her hard work lives on after she's gone. And that desire drives her to do things that are not nice. I hate classifying her as a villain, because she's not evil, but she is hardhearted and not a likable person. There is a subplot surrounding the hero's eldest sister, who is the villain of the first book in the duology, "The Nobody". I really recommend reading that book first. They are in essence stand-alone novels, but the character development of this character stretches between these two books and this book is even better if read after the first.

In the first book, the sister is a copy of the mother in this book, but in this story as she's dealing with the idea of being a spinster, she begins to change. It's not a sudden night-and-day shift of character, but she starts to change and become someone better. While she's a sympathetic villain in the first book, in this book she becomes someone you like and I found myself rooting for her.

I still wouldn't necessarily want to hang out with her, but she has a wonderful character arc through the two novels. I just could go on and on about how much I liked this book. Plot wise, it is a light book, but character wise, I found it to be really well written. It took what was great in "The Nobody" and expanded on it while chopping out the melodrama.

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A definite 5-stars! Dec 09, Aneca rated it really liked it Shelves: christmas , trad-regency. I had already read another book by Diane Farr when I came across this one.

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A handful of Walt Disney's best loved characters appear in this direct-to-video release, which tells three different tales of the holiday season. Their wish comes true, and before long, they learn why Sign up and add shows to get the latest updates about your favorite shows - Start Now. Created with Sketch. Keep track of your favorite shows and movies, across all your devices. Sign up to get started Login About My Watchlist. Where to Watch. Available to Stream Watch on. Add to Watchlist Added. Tony Anselmo Donald Duck.

Kelsey Grammer Narrator. My News Sign up and add shows to get the latest updates about your favorite shows - Start Now. Meet Bigfoot, a 5-month old domestic Shorthair who is perfect in every way. He's very loving and curious and is ready to settle in his forever….

Executive chef Chris Feldmeier is preparing a French favorite with homemade bechamel sauce with a twist! Debbie Matenopoulos is making a family-favorite recipe with ground pork and sour cream for dipping. Paige Hemmis has a beautiful DIY to help you celebrate those special songs in your life. Maria Provenzano is showing you an inexpensive way to make your own tea stand using and assortment of cups and saucers. Get the Instructions …. Ken Wingard is showing you a creative way to display your special sentimental letters.