First in Erica Ridley’s 12 Dukes of Christmas series (no, there aren’t 12 books - only 3, I believe) Once Upon A Duke introduces the village of Cressmouth, where a benevolent (but slightly bonkers) landowner has transformed a dying community into the embodiment of Christmas, year-round.
Into this charming, if twee, Christmas paradise erupts Benjamin, Duke of Silkwood, a man who (actually with justification) hates Christmas and everything it stands for. All he wants is a family heirloom stolen from him, but the terms of his grandfather’s will means he’s stuck in Christmas for the time being. Cressmouth, he means. It’s definitely called Cressmouth, not Christmas. Bah, humbug.
Orphan Noelle has never known anywhere else, never wanted any other kind of life. Cressmouth is both home and family to her, and Benjamin - well, he’s incompatible with everything she wants, everything she believes in. Except, the attraction between them is undeniable. Will the spirit of Christmas find a way into Benjamin’s frozen heart after all?
This was such a charming, light-hearted read. I raced through it, laughing out loud a few times. The eccentric characters of Cressmouth made me want to read all their stories. I’m pretty sure I can guess who the heroines of the next books will be and I’m excited to read how they’ll find love too!
A wonderful story to truly get you into the spirit of Christmas, I can’t rate this anything less than five stars.
Once Upon A Duke is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.