This post contains affiliate links.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No compensation was given.  I think we can all agree it’s been a rough year.  As soon as Halloween was over, I saw people on my Facebook feed putting up their Christmas trees.  We can all use a little light and joy in our lives that the holiday season brings.  While I haven’t put up my Christmas tree yet, I have gotten myself into the holiday spirit with a compilation of three holiday novellas in one book, Joy to the World.  I have really enjoyed escaping into this book.

Joy to the World

About Joy to the World

Joy to the World includes three novellas:

“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller,

“Far as the Curse Is Found” by Amanda Barratt, and

“Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch

About Each Story

Each of the novellas takes place during Christmas time and is set in the early to mid 1800s.

“Heaven and Nature Sing”

In “Heaven and Nature Sing,” Edith Mansfield is attending a multi-day Christmas event at Lady Grantley’s home.  She soon finds one of the guests will be George Bannerman, her ex-fiance.  While Edith clearly still cares for George, she had a reason for breaking off the engagement.  However, she never told George, who is still in love with her.

Will these two be able to reunite, or is Edith still resolved that she can no longer find a future with George?

“Far as the Curse Is Found”

“Far as the Curse Is Found” tells the story of Jenny, a young single mom in the 1800s working as a bar maid.  At her job, she’s constantly harrassed by men.  Walking home after her shift one night, two of the men from the bar attack her.  Lucky for her, her scream caught the attention of Dwight, who comes to her aid.

Dwight is socially isolated because he suffered catastrophic burns during the war and now wears a mask to cover half of his face.

A few days later, Dwight is again out walking when he sees a woman carrying a baby stumble and fall.  He rushes to her aid only to find that it’s the woman (Jenny) he assisted several days earlier.  Dwight nurses both Jenny and her baby, who are now desperately ill, back to health.  He also offers her a job to work as a maid at his estate.

Out of the three novellas, this is my favorite one.  We all like to see two people who were badly hurt in their past come together and bring joy and love to one another.

“Wonders of His Love”

In “Wonders of His Love,” Priscilla (Cilla) is a 24 year old widow with a young daughter.  She lives on the estate with her controlling mother-in-law and kind brother-in-law and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess.  Cilla is bored with doing exactly as her mother-in-law asks.  She’s itching for a change.

That change comes in the form of Hamish Sinclair, a painter commissioned by Cilla’s mother-in-law to paint portraits of the Duke and Duchess, to be unveiled at a Christmas party in six weeks.  Despite the obvious difference in their stations (in a time and place where stations matter a great deal), Cilla finds herself falling in love with Hamish, and he with her.

Can love overcome societal position and wealth (or lack thereof in Hamish’s case)?

My Thoughts on This Book

2020 has been a rough year.  I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in these romances, in part, because unlike much of 2020, good things happen in the end.  I especially enjoyed the last two novellas.

There was only one thing I didn’t like about the first novella, “Heaven and Nature Sing.”  The readers know that for some reason, Edith broke off her engagement with George.  We also know they’re both still in love with one another.  However, the author doesn’t let the reader know why Edith broke off her engagement until almost the end of the story.  I think if the reader had known this earlier, the story would have been more interesting.

If you’re looking for a good book set during the Christmas season to escape into, this is a good choice.

I give Joy to the World 4 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

Read More

If you like this genre, consider reading more Kregel romances:

Misleading Miss Verity by Carolyn Miller

Too Deep for Words by Andrea Boeshaar

Alabaster by Chris Aslan

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