Once Upon a Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas #1)
Beware romantic spirits from Christmas past...Due to the terms of an estranged relative's will, the Duke of Silkridge must revisit the cold, unforgiving mountains where he lost everything he once loved. As soon as he rights his family legacy, he'll return to London where he belongs. He definitely won't rekindle the forbidden spark crackling between him and the irresistible spitfire he'd left behind...Noelle Pratchett is immune to charming rakehells like the arrogant duke. He stole her heart, stole her first kiss, and then stole away one night never to return. Now he's back—and so are all the old feelings. Noelle knows he won't stay. But how can she maintain her icy shields when every heated glance melts her to her core?The Twelve Dukes of Christmas is a laugh-out-loud historical romance series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!

Once Upon a Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas #1) Details

TitleOnce Upon a Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 9th, 2018
PublisherWebMotion
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical Romance, Holiday, Christmas, Humor, Historical, Historical Fiction

Once Upon a Duke (12 Dukes of Christmas #1) Review

  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite Erica Ridley yet! This was a Christmas book that combines a lesson of Christmas spirit to be learned with a second chance romance - two of my favorite things! In a world where nothing lasted, it was better not to try, not to be disappointed, not the get hurt.Benjamin Ward, Duke of Silkridge, has every reason to hate Christmas. The season is associated with tragedy and the worst of memories, and now he is forced to return to his grandfather's Christmas village (no kidding, the man inv My favorite Erica Ridley yet! This was a Christmas book that combines a lesson of Christmas spirit to be learned with a second chance romance - two of my favorite things! In a world where nothing lasted, it was better not to try, not to be disappointed, not the get hurt.Benjamin Ward, Duke of Silkridge, has every reason to hate Christmas. The season is associated with tragedy and the worst of memories, and now he is forced to return to his grandfather's Christmas village (no kidding, the man invested his fortune in a village where it could be Christmas all year around…) to reclaim a piece of family history his grandfather had stolen and kept from him while he was alive. He is not prepared for his feelings for his childhood friend, Noelle, to not only rekindle, but discover that they had never gone away. He is not amused when he discovers that his grandfather's will comes with even more manipulation and forces him to stay away from his duties and responsibilities to fulfil a ludicrous scheme. Noelle has most definitely not been pining all those years after her first crush. She has learned to make herself useful, carved out a space for herself in a world dominated by men where her talent for organization comes in handy, even if it goes completely unnoticed. When Ben comes back and not only sees what she has accomplished, but her, too. she is not willing to open herself up again to the hurt of being left behind. And she knows he has to go back to London, where he is needed. But that doesn't stop her from wanting… I really enjoyed this story! Both leads where just the nicest people, and it was rewarding to see them get reacquainted, to discover their feelings had only been pushed aside, but never forgotten. I also really really loved that this Scrooge didn't do a full one-eighty and was miraculously cured. His hurt runs too deep for that, but by the end, he realizes that some things need to be let go and it's time to make new memories, and for me, that makes the story incredibly moving.If you're looking for a good, satisfying Christmas story complete with a grumpy Duke and a sweet, lovely heroine to remind him of what home and Christmas are all about, give this one a try! *I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Dianne
    January 1, 1970
    A Scrooge-like Duke is no match for the spirit of the townsfolk of “Cressmouth,” or is that “Christmas?” Cozy up with Erica Ridley’s ONCE UPON A DUKE and ring in the Christmas (or is that Cressmouth) spirit as one dour duke returns to the home where he only knew pain in order to fulfill his late grandfather’s last wishes.All Benjamin wants is to retrieve the last item he has to remember his mother and father, but his cold and calculating grandfather has made even that a painful experience, or is A Scrooge-like Duke is no match for the spirit of the townsfolk of “Cressmouth,” or is that “Christmas?” Cozy up with Erica Ridley’s ONCE UPON A DUKE and ring in the Christmas (or is that Cressmouth) spirit as one dour duke returns to the home where he only knew pain in order to fulfill his late grandfather’s last wishes.All Benjamin wants is to retrieve the last item he has to remember his mother and father, but his cold and calculating grandfather has made even that a painful experience, or is there more to that Will than meets the eye?Noelle Pratchett never forgot the young Duke who kissed her then disappeared into the night. Now he’s back, a hardened soul. Can the spirit of Christmas year round in Cressmouth thaw his frozen heart? Maybe meeting Tiny Tim will help? Lovely, quirky characters, light, feel-good reading!Get ready to laugh, to chuckle and to fall in love with Cressmouth and its jolly inhabitants in this historical romance nestled in a small snow covered village where there must be some magic in the air!The perfect gift to give to yourself or anyone who loves a sweet romance with a holiday feel!I received a complimentary ARC edition from WebMotion!Series: 12 Dukes of Christmas - Book 1Publisher: WebMotion (October 9, 2018)Publication Date: October 9, 2018Genre: Historical Romantic Holiday Print Length: 169 pagesAvailable from: Amazon | Barnes & NobleFor Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
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  • Maggie Whitworth
    January 1, 1970
    ❤❤❤💋A modern Christmas fairytale , based on the Classic , Christmas Carol .It’s different and Quirky, and to be honest not my sort of thing , but I enjoyed the read .The main characters are interesting and have well developed personalities, the setting is seasonal, though for me a bit too cheesy.I love Christmas stories, and this did tick a lot of the write boxes , but for me this is at most a 3 star. I received an advance copy of this book and chose to submit a review ❤️❤️❤️💋A modern Christmas fairytale , based on the Classic , Christmas Carol .It’s different and Quirky, and to be honest not my sort of thing , but I enjoyed the read .The main characters are interesting and have well developed personalities, the setting is seasonal, though for me a bit too cheesy.I love Christmas stories, and this did tick a lot of the write boxes , but for me this is at most a 3 star. I received an advance copy of this book and chose to submit a review
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  • Narjiss
    January 1, 1970
    Boring.. The heroes have no depth. The storyline is very repetitive. The problems that keep the hero from being with heroin magically disappear (it must be Christmass magic), we dont see the attachment progressively building and why. We don’t understand why they are good for each other. Few dialogues between the heroe and the heroine. Everything is perfect in the village. Everyone excells at what he does, everyone is kind and happy. It reminds me of lord farquaad city in Shreak!I couldn’t wait t Boring.. The heroes have no depth. The storyline is very repetitive. The problems that keep the hero from being with heroin magically disappear (it must be Christmass magic), we dont see the attachment progressively building and why. We don’t understand why they are good for each other. Few dialogues between the heroe and the heroine. Everything is perfect in the village. Everyone excells at what he does, everyone is kind and happy. It reminds me of lord farquaad city in Shreak!I couldn’t wait to finish it. It was torture.Worse book since I started reading historical romance!!
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    By the time he'd learned she was an orphan far below his class, it no longer mattered. They were already inseparable. Too inseparable. Their friendship would have challenged Society more than enough. Their single stolen kiss had been so dramatically outside his control that it had sent him reeling. Retreat was the only safe path for them both. --Benjamin3.5 starsHmm. Ultimately I guess I ended up liking this novel, but it was definitely a mission completing this one. The story follows Benjamin, By the time he'd learned she was an orphan far below his class, it no longer mattered. They were already inseparable. Too inseparable. Their friendship would have challenged Society more than enough. Their single stolen kiss had been so dramatically outside his control that it had sent him reeling. Retreat was the only safe path for them both. --Benjamin3.5 starsHmm. Ultimately I guess I ended up liking this novel, but it was definitely a mission completing this one. The story follows Benjamin, Duke of Silkridge, who has been summoned back to Cressmouth, a town nicknamed "Christmas" because of its year-round holiday cheer, by his grandfather's will. Years ago, his grandfather (Mr. Marlowe) stole Benjamin's locket containing the only portrait of his now-deceased parents, which is Benjamin's most prized possession. Now Mr. Marlowe is using his death as a final way to control Benjamin and coerce him back to Cressmouth--a place that holds nothing but painful memories for him--and blackmail him into performing outrageous tasks in order to get his locket back. In addition, Benjamin is forced to face his former lady love Noelle, who is as beautiful and full of life as ever. There is lots of pent-up hurt, misunderstandings, guilt, and buried love between these two as they are forced to work closely together and face their past in order to maybe build a future together.And even though this story had all the elements that I adore in HRs, I still had a tough time finishing it. The story itself was pretty solid, but I think the story was too drawn out! It would have been much better as a shorter novella, which would have improved the pacing and moved the story along smoother. It just seemed so repetitive especially in the beginning half, and I found myself losing interest. The second half definitely picked up the pace and saved the novel a bit, although I still hated Mr. Marlowe and don't feel he ever redeemed himself. Also, this novel wasn't as steamy as I usually prefer. Overall, I did like this Humbug Christmas novel, but I've read better. I will still be continuing on in the series.*ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for review from netgalley. I wish there was a way to give half stars but there's not, so I will just say I give it 3.5 stars. This is the first book I've read that I hated the main male character. Benjamin is the type of guy that thinks he has to do what society thinks he should. I did start to like him but not until the last few chapters. Now I loved Noelle, I think she is probably one of my favorite female characters. She is witty, kind, strong and independent. The storyli I received this book for review from netgalley. I wish there was a way to give half stars but there's not, so I will just say I give it 3.5 stars. This is the first book I've read that I hated the main male character. Benjamin is the type of guy that thinks he has to do what society thinks he should. I did start to like him but not until the last few chapters. Now I loved Noelle, I think she is probably one of my favorite female characters. She is witty, kind, strong and independent. The storyline was good, however, it was very slow compared to what I'm used to reading. I didn't like how the grandfather wasn't really explained as far as why he treated the town so good but his grandson was nothing to him.I have always liked this author, but this is definitely not one of my favorites by her. I would recommend this book to other historical romance lovers. I think it is good for those that prefer less sex scenes.
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  • HR-ML
    January 1, 1970
    Regency where the people of Cressmouth England celebrated Christmas year-round. Benjamin (a Duke) considered himself cold, dutiful, emotionless. I'd add morose with 2 feet in the past.He devoted himself to Parliament & not much else. He became reacquainted with Noelle, who dwelled on being abandoned as a baby. Noelle came across as spirited, cheerful, selfless, and organized. She lived in the castle @ Cressmouth as an employee. Benjamin hated Christmas. He arrived @the castle with a specific Regency where the people of Cressmouth England celebrated Christmas year-round. Benjamin (a Duke) considered himself cold, dutiful, emotionless. I'd add morose with 2 feet in the past.He devoted himself to Parliament & not much else. He became reacquainted with Noelle, who dwelled on being abandoned as a baby. Noelle came across as spirited, cheerful, selfless, and organized. She lived in the castle @ Cressmouth as an employee. Benjamin hated Christmas. He arrived @the castle with a specific goal. She showed him the joy all around him. This couple seemed blah. Ms. Ridley has written better books.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this story. But I have to confess, at times it was just a bit too much Christmas for me. Both main characters are lovely and they both work towards their HEA. The witty banter and additional characters make it wonderful read on a cold autumn evening.
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    This was a quick and delightful read, if a little cheesy. Benjamin, now a duke, returns to his grandfather's mountain home for the reading of that estranged relation's will. Noelle, a beloved member of his grandfather's Christmas themed town, remembers Benjamin from before, and she also remembers his abrupt departure without a goodbye. Through this short story, Benjamin deals with his grandfather's final manipulation and learns to open himself up to the possibility of caring for another person a This was a quick and delightful read, if a little cheesy. Benjamin, now a duke, returns to his grandfather's mountain home for the reading of that estranged relation's will. Noelle, a beloved member of his grandfather's Christmas themed town, remembers Benjamin from before, and she also remembers his abrupt departure without a goodbye. Through this short story, Benjamin deals with his grandfather's final manipulation and learns to open himself up to the possibility of caring for another person again, while Noelle learns to see outside her narrow little world and believe in her own worthiness. If you're looking for a quick read to get you into the Christmas spirit, this is it.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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  • AnnMarie
    January 1, 1970
    If you want to read a book that is romantic, emotional yet very funny and lighthearted then this is the perfect book for you. Set in the town of Cressmouth, lovingly known as Christmas, we meet a wonderful array of characters, not least Tiny Tim who you will love! The people of Christmas treat every day like it is indeed Christmas and it is Benjamin's worst nightmare.Benjamin is the Duke of Silkridge, he has no reason to like or celebrate Christmas. He has been estranged from his grandfather for If you want to read a book that is romantic, emotional yet very funny and lighthearted then this is the perfect book for you. Set in the town of Cressmouth, lovingly known as Christmas, we meet a wonderful array of characters, not least Tiny Tim who you will love! The people of Christmas treat every day like it is indeed Christmas and it is Benjamin's worst nightmare.Benjamin is the Duke of Silkridge, he has no reason to like or celebrate Christmas. He has been estranged from his grandfather for many years and is only returning to Cressmouth because the man has passed away and he has to be present for the reading of the will. He will be given back something very important to him that his grandfather stole from him. It's a shock to him when he hears that he has to fulfil a bequest before he will get the item back. Part of that request is to work with a woman who he kissed and left 5 years ago. A woman he could have loved but thought he had no choice but to leave.That woman is Noelle Pratchett. She and everybody in 'Christmas' loved Ben's grandfather. He hired many of them in perhaps some of the strangest jobs on the estate. He hired Noelle for a serious job though, looking after the accounts of the estate, his right hand 'man' so to speak. She was shocked to see Ben and to realise that as hurt as she was by him before, she still was very much attracted to him. Ben is just as shocked to realise that his feelings for her hadn't changed at all either. But his circumstances haven't changed, so there is still no chance of a future together for them. Or is there?I loved this story, I loved the people of 'Christmas' and most importantly I loved reading how Ben and Noelle are both such stubborn people but have to learn what it is to give and take. The love between them was palpable, and I very much enjoyed reading their story. I look forward to reading the next books in the series too because Erica Ridley is one of my favourite authors.
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  • Tracy Emro
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 rounded upBenjamin Ward, the Duke of Silkridge has returned to the one place he swore he would never go - the village of Cressmouth, the home of maternal his grandfather, Jacob Marlowe. He has come for one reason, to retrieve his mother's locket which holds the only portrait of her. His grandfather took it from him five years ago and refused to return it - he blamed Benjamin for his daughter's death and said he didn't deserve to have it. But now the man is dead and Benjamin wants it back. He 2.5 rounded upBenjamin Ward, the Duke of Silkridge has returned to the one place he swore he would never go - the village of Cressmouth, the home of maternal his grandfather, Jacob Marlowe. He has come for one reason, to retrieve his mother's locket which holds the only portrait of her. His grandfather took it from him five years ago and refused to return it - he blamed Benjamin for his daughter's death and said he didn't deserve to have it. But now the man is dead and Benjamin wants it back. He will get the locket and return to London and Parliament. Since inheriting the dukedom, Benjamin has devoted himself to England and has no time for anything (or anyone) else. He met Noelle during his last visit and shared an amazing kiss, but left her without a word. Noelle Pratchett (see a theme here?) was abandoned as a baby and taken in by Mr. Marlowe. She loves Cressmouth, which the citizens call Christmas and works tirelessly at the counting house to prove her worth. She thought she and Benjamin shared something special, but when he left without saying good-bye, she threw herself into her work and has decided that Christmas would be her family. She is not shocked to see him at the reading of the will, but wonders why he didn't come to see his grandfather before he died. Jacob Marlowe is revered in the village and no one can understand the animosity his grandson holds him in, especially Noelle. She will just have to stay away from him and guard her heart from further pain. When Benjamin learns his grandfather left stipulations to his inheritance, he is livid - he hates this town and Christmas and just wants to get his locket and go back to London because there is nothing else in this village that he wants - if he keeps telling himself that, maybe he will believe it - Noelle is even lovelier than the last time he saw her - whatever was between them still burns bright and is still just as impossible as it was five years ago. As Benjamin and Noelle work together to fulfill his grandfather's demands, they have a hard time remembering why they can't be together. Will the magic of Christmas be enough to give these too a HEA?I'll be honest, the first 75% of this book was just too corny for me, Cressmouth comes across as some weird cult-like type of Christmas commune and the Dickens "Christmas Carol" references and tie-ins where a bit over the top. I was surprised because I usually love anything Erica Ridley writes, but this book just wasn't doing it for me. However, just when I thought I wasn't going to be able to finish it, it takes a turn out of the absurd and the last 25% is fantastic with the depth and emotion that I have come to expect from Ms. Ridley. It is not as steamy as usual, but the love scene is well placed and well done, the ending is sweet and satisfying. So for me the first 3/4 of the book was 2 stars and the last 1/4 was 4 stars - I settled for 2.5 stars overall. This is the first book in a new series and I will read the next one and decide from there if I will be continuing with this series.*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*
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  • Vânia Nunes
    January 1, 1970
    Benjamin Ward, the Duke of Silkridge, was on his way to the small town of Cressmouth, England, utterly grumpy. He had not been there for years, but with the death of his grandfather, he had to go to the reading of the will.As he approached, the town, very cold at this time of year (January) had a strange feature: it seemed to have been frozen in the middle of Christmas.The inhabitants - everyone knew each other - lived on this day, and even renamed the city of Christmas.Ben had strong reasons to Benjamin Ward, the Duke of Silkridge, was on his way to the small town of Cressmouth, England, utterly grumpy. He had not been there for years, but with the death of his grandfather, he had to go to the reading of the will.As he approached, the town, very cold at this time of year (January) had a strange feature: it seemed to have been frozen in the middle of Christmas.The inhabitants - everyone knew each other - lived on this day, and even renamed the city of Christmas.Ben had strong reasons to avoid going there. Beginning with his own grandfather who, in a stern attitude a few years ago, took from Ben the only memory he had of his mother, who died shortly after giving birth to him.There, too, was the only other person Ben had a feeling for, Noelle Pratchett.After reading the document, Ben should stay for at least the next 30 days, since there was a clause in the will that compelled him to do so as a special mission.Ben did not know why his grandfather had given him such a strange order, but he would do it the best he could, if only to prove to the people of Cressmouth/Christmas that he was capable. He just did not count that the same will stipulated that Ben would have Noelle as his helper.The city, always festive, enervated the duke, but as the days pass, the spirit of Christmas begins to do its magic. Even if Ben felt more comfortable in the midst of so much snow and such a party, how could he convince Noelle that he would never run away from his feelings and, consequently, from her?For those who know Lewis Carroll's Christmas Tales, will identify some similarities.The funniest thing is trying to figure out who (or what) are the other 11 dukes in town.The book has 17 chapters and epilogue and brings magic and love to make the reader's heart lighter.3,5 stars
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  • Shelby
    January 1, 1970
    ***ARC was provided to me for a fair and honest review***Overall rating: 3/5 Heroine (Noelle): 3/5 She is altogether the smartest person in town and a bit naive at the same time. She keeps the town going but thinks herself in love with a grumpy standoffish guy who for 99% of the book is unwilling to compromise for them. She too was likewise unwilling to compromise for the same length of time. Hero (Benjamin): 3/5 A grumpy do-gooder duke who hates Christmas because of the losses he’s suffered aro ***ARC was provided to me for a fair and honest review***Overall rating: 3/5 Heroine (Noelle): 3/5 She is altogether the smartest person in town and a bit naive at the same time. She keeps the town going but thinks herself in love with a grumpy standoffish guy who for 99% of the book is unwilling to compromise for them. She too was likewise unwilling to compromise for the same length of time. Hero (Benjamin): 3/5 A grumpy do-gooder duke who hates Christmas because of the losses he’s suffered around the holiday.Plot: 2/5 It loosely follows A Christmas Carol’s storyline minus any ghosts or magic. Benjamin is our Scrooge stand in and Noelle is his once lost love and to win her back Benjamin must learn the meaning of Christmas. Personal Review: It’s a quick holiday read in a town called Christmas that is always brimming with holiday spirit and good cheer. Honestly, I didn’t really buy into the leads being together. The reader is more or less just told these two are into each other rather than them having any real chemistry on the page. They just decide it’s that point in the story to kiss, or visit the bedroom, or get married. There’s no real build up to each event. Since a large part of the story is from Benjamin’s POV, the reader is not as open to the idea of liking his grandfather as the townsfolk of Christmas would like them to be. In Benjamin’s eyes, for much of the book his grandfather was irredeemable and unloving toward his grandson for being the perceived reason Benjamin’s mother dying after childbirth. So the townsfolk’s constant praise of the man paints his treatment of Benjamin in a harsher light.
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  • Caitlyn Lynch
    January 1, 1970
    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 fr 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.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.
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  • Lori D
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful story that will warm your heart. Who does not like a Christmas story? I love them any time of the year and although this took place in January after the holiday, it was set in Cressmouth where Christmas is celebrated all year long. Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge, returns to the town after he receives word of the death of his grandfather. He had left over 5 years ago and was reluctant to return. Of course, he runs into Noelle, who he had left after he had kissed her. This story was A delightful story that will warm your heart. Who does not like a Christmas story? I love them any time of the year and although this took place in January after the holiday, it was set in Cressmouth where Christmas is celebrated all year long. Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge, returns to the town after he receives word of the death of his grandfather. He had left over 5 years ago and was reluctant to return. Of course, he runs into Noelle, who he had left after he had kissed her. This story was a take on the Dickens Christmas Carol with Benjamin being the bah humbug Scrooge! He had not wanted to return to the town but Noelle, helped him to take an interest in the town and the people.Erica Ridley always creates wonderful characters and settings and this was no exception. Full of humor, romance and a chance at love although their stations in life were so different. Can they bridge that gap and find a happy ending? Will Benjamin grow to love the town and want to stay? You do not want to miss this entertaining story that will having you waiting impatiently for the next in the series..
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  • Cathy Geha
    January 1, 1970
    Once Upon a Duke by Erica RidleyThe Twelve Dukes of Christmas #1What a delightful story! With snippets that reminded me of fairytales, plays, movies and Christmases past this story was a joy from beginning to end :) Okay…there may have been some angst and drama and lovelorn looks but what a joy this was to read today! Second chances at love do occur but only when people are willing to open not only their hearts but their minds to what is truly important and then take the steps necessary to move Once Upon a Duke by Erica RidleyThe Twelve Dukes of Christmas #1What a delightful story! With snippets that reminded me of fairytales, plays, movies and Christmases past this story was a joy from beginning to end :) Okay…there may have been some angst and drama and lovelorn looks but what a joy this was to read today! Second chances at love do occur but only when people are willing to open not only their hearts but their minds to what is truly important and then take the steps necessary to move into that happy place they thought would never occur for them. Benjamin and Noelle have not seen one another for five years but neither has stopped thinking about the other. Will the reading of the will of his grandfather finally give him peace or is there more that is required? I am smiling as I type. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this story and look forward to reading the next one in the series as soon as I can get my hands on it! And the twelve dukes? Smiling some more as I think about the ones I have met in this book already :)Thank you to the author for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
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  • Sissy's Romance Book Review
    January 1, 1970
    "Once Upon a Duke" by Erica Ridley is the First book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas Series. This is the story of Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge and Noelle Pratchett.Benjamin is back at the village of Cressmouth in northern England where he abruptly left about 5 years ago...leaving behind Noelle. Now he is back to quickly hear his grandfather's will and get the family heirloom, his mother’s locket. But he learns there a stipulation he meet to fulfill the will that will keep him there longer than h "Once Upon a Duke" by Erica Ridley is the First book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas Series. This is the story of Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge and Noelle Pratchett.Benjamin is back at the village of Cressmouth in northern England where he abruptly left about 5 years ago...leaving behind Noelle. Now he is back to quickly hear his grandfather's will and get the family heirloom, his mother’s locket. But he learns there a stipulation he meet to fulfill the will that will keep him there longer than he planned or wanted. Noelle was hurt when Benjamin left. Now Noelle works to keep her heart to herself and not give in to the feelings that Benjamin is bring back to her. This town is all about Christmas and Benjamin is all about the Scrooge part but the longer he stays his heart begins to beat again with love. This book had funny part, emotional parts and a lot of love parts...loved it.
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  • Rosemary K
    January 1, 1970
    Cressmouth, England, may be considered the happiest place on earth by many, but not by Benjamin Ward, the Duke of Silkridge. It reminds him of his Grandfather's betrayal. Noelle Pratchett loves living in this holiday world. She cares for the friendly people and enjoys the feeling of being needed. Both remember the kiss they shared. Even though it was five years ago, the magic still remains among their broken dreams. Can they get a second chance at a HEA? I enjoyed Once Upon A Duke. The interacti Cressmouth, England, may be considered the happiest place on earth by many, but not by Benjamin Ward, the Duke of Silkridge. It reminds him of his Grandfather's betrayal. Noelle Pratchett loves living in this holiday world. She cares for the friendly people and enjoys the feeling of being needed. Both remember the kiss they shared. Even though it was five years ago, the magic still remains among their broken dreams. Can they get a second chance at a HEA? I enjoyed Once Upon A Duke. The interaction between Benjamin and Noelle is both sweet and sassy. Sparks fly whenever these two are near each other. I loves these characters. They draw you into the story and make you want them to find happiness. The setting is over the top and the dialogue is filled with humor and sweetness. Erica Ridley did a wonderful job. I enjoyed my visit to Cressmouth. The first book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas series is an enchanting romp filled with sweet romance and rollicking humor.
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  • Zena
    January 1, 1970
    Great story!The more he tries to convince himself that he must leave, the more stable, reliable, competent and understanding she becomes. These are the traits and natures of our two main characters, Noelle and the Duke of Silkridge.I will admit to quite a few laugh out loud moments especially every time when he is teased about the name of the town and the word Christmas. At the time he really didn't have much of a sense of humor about that.This story is once again a well written example of enjoy Great story!The more he tries to convince himself that he must leave, the more stable, reliable, competent and understanding she becomes. These are the traits and natures of our two main characters, Noelle and the Duke of Silkridge.I will admit to quite a few laugh out loud moments especially every time when he is teased about the name of the town and the word Christmas. At the time he really didn't have much of a sense of humor about that.This story is once again a well written example of enjoyable and entertaining literature from Erica Ridley so if you want something really good to read I recommend that you choose this book.I read an Advance Reader's Copy of this book and my review above is voluntary and unbiased.
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  • Dixie
    January 1, 1970
    This combined the elements of a second chance Regency romance with a village saved from financial ruin by their transformation to a tourist destination hosting a year-round celebration of Christmas. There are lots of nods to A Christmas Carol thrown in, and a nice dose of quirky characters. Backstory and character development were provided when they served best to move the action forward. I especially enjoyed the grovel when the "Scrooge" had his change of heart.I voluntarily read an advanced re This combined the elements of a second chance Regency romance with a village saved from financial ruin by their transformation to a tourist destination hosting a year-round celebration of Christmas. There are lots of nods to A Christmas Carol thrown in, and a nice dose of quirky characters. Backstory and character development were provided when they served best to move the action forward. I especially enjoyed the grovel when the "Scrooge" had his change of heart.I voluntarily read an advanced review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley and I offer my honest opinion in response.
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  • Elsbeth
    January 1, 1970
    I love the historical romances from Erica Ridley! So my expectations for this book were high. Too high. I'm really not the humbug-type, but this was a bit too much Christmas spirit... ...for January. That, and Benjamin annoyed me. I think it was supposed to be funny and all the references to A Christmas Carol and Shakespeare are well found. For me it was just a bit too much.Then why did I still finish the book and gave it 3 stars? Because it has the wonderful Erica Ridley writing style!I receive I love the historical romances from Erica Ridley! So my expectations for this book were high. Too high. I'm really not the humbug-type, but this was a bit too much Christmas spirit... ...for January. That, and Benjamin annoyed me. I think it was supposed to be funny and all the references to A Christmas Carol and Shakespeare are well found. For me it was just a bit too much.Then why did I still finish the book and gave it 3 stars? Because it has the wonderful Erica Ridley writing style!I received a copy and chose to review it.
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  • Vickie Raynor
    January 1, 1970
    This book was cute and had a good romance between Noelle and Silkridge, but it was a little too drawn out for me in a simplistic way. Made it a little hard to stay concentrated. I thought there were some funny scenes and the way the author put a fresh spin on the Christmas Carol was new. Book provided by NetGalley.
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  • Lori Quick
    January 1, 1970
    A lovely Christmas story about second chances, learning to compromise without giving up your self, Christmas spirit and so much more. Really enjoyable story. Thank you #NetGalley and publisher for a chance to read an advance copy.
  • Heike
    January 1, 1970
    Noelle and Benjamin exchanged one kiss years ago, and then he left. However, when he returns two years later both realize that their love never ceased, but both have a life they can not abandon for each other. How sadly hopeless. Of course, there is a Happy Ending in sight - just how? This was an easy going romance, not as "laugh-out-loud" funny as advertised, but still an entertaining holiday read. It could have done with a few less references to Christmas - the joke of mixing up the holiday wi Noelle and Benjamin exchanged one kiss years ago, and then he left. However, when he returns two years later both realize that their love never ceased, but both have a life they can not abandon for each other. How sadly hopeless. Of course, there is a Happy Ending in sight - just how? This was an easy going romance, not as "laugh-out-loud" funny as advertised, but still an entertaining holiday read. It could have done with a few less references to Christmas - the joke of mixing up the holiday with the towns name got fairly old fairly quickly. And why the deceased father's will was worded as it was would have been a nice, yet missing, revelation.
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  • Marti
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! It is the wonderful, romantic tale of how Noelle and Duke Benjamin Silkridge discover the most important thing in the world.
  • Maura
    January 1, 1970
    Noelle is an orphan who grew up in the town of Cressmouth, where the current Duke of Silkridge, Benjamin, would visit his grandfather during certain winters. She and Benjamin had a strong friendship that turned to romance after one kiss...but the morning after that kiss, Benjamin disappeared off to London and Noelle never saw him again. Now his grandfather is dead and Benjamin in back in Cressmouth, which his grandfather turned into the town of Christmas, where Christmas exists all year round. S Noelle is an orphan who grew up in the town of Cressmouth, where the current Duke of Silkridge, Benjamin, would visit his grandfather during certain winters. She and Benjamin had a strong friendship that turned to romance after one kiss...but the morning after that kiss, Benjamin disappeared off to London and Noelle never saw him again. Now his grandfather is dead and Benjamin in back in Cressmouth, which his grandfather turned into the town of Christmas, where Christmas exists all year round. Silkridge hates Christmas (the town and the holiday) and has no desire to stay longer than it takes to get what he came for - his mother’s locket. In fact, Noelle’s presence makes him want to hasten his departure because he fears the longer he stays with her the harder it will be for him to leave and the more hurt he’ll cause her. But Noelle wants to show Benjamin that love is not something to be avoided and is worth the potential pain. This is kind of a second chance romance with elements of a Christmas Carol thrown in...the characters are there - Old Fuzzy Wig, Jacob Marlowe, Silkridge (scrooge), Noelle Pratchett (Crachet), Tiny Tim (a goat) and others. No ghosts of christmas past, present or future though. I almost wanted them actually. I think with all the similarities, I kept expecting one to pop up. This starts out with the classic confrontation, where Noelle is bitter that Silkridge left and never stayed in touch and Silkridge is internally under her spell but determined to stay aloof. The big focus is on the fact that Noelle cannot forgive Silkridge for leaving and is doing her best to protect her heart because she knows he’ll leave again. But about halfway through, the focus seems to change and it becomes about whether Noelle can believe he is a good person and like him again. But I wasn’t sure that was ever in any doubt. She presumably knew him before he left and knew he was a good, caring person. But she keeps pointing to evidence that he is a good man and that she’s surprised to find herself liking him again. It’s as though the reason for her anger has changed - she no longer cares why he left (and even though she knows he’s leaving, doesn’t care to protect her heart any longer - in fact, she throws it under the bus quite willingly). It took me a minute to realize that something felt askew, when Noelle starts harping on all his good qualities and didn’t seem to harbor any anger anymore and I couldn’t figure out why that felt abrupt or strange. It was because the reasons for her anger had suddenly changed I guess. In the end, there isn’t really much bitterness or anger and the two resolve their differences fairly easily. So the angst wasn’t there, but I’m not sure it needed it. The angst lay in the seeming impossibility of their having a future together, and that worked better. I liked this story as a whole, however there were several things that didn’t feel like they made sense. I couldn’t figure out why Silkridge kept visiting his grandfather (or why his father seemed to demand it) when his grandfather clearly hated him. I mean, he had his own room and he referred to it as once “his winter home” so he clearly spent plenty of time there. If neither he nor his grandfather wanted him to be there, why was he still going? And why is it he claimed he was afraid of loving and losing Noelle BEFORE his father had passed away? Prior to that the only person he’d lost was his mother when he was a baby - how much pain could that have caused him? And yet, even though he monologues that the reason he left was because of the fear he felt, he tells Noelle that he left because his grandfather ousted him from the castle. So which was it? Both? Silkridge never actually acknowledges this. Maybe I missed those, but I was left wondering. This is a cute little Christmas story and sets up some potentially cute follow up stories as well. The female characters definitely have some sass and verve, so I think I’m going to like them.
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  • Brigitte
    January 1, 1970
    This is a charming and humourous historical romance set in the cold, picturesque and remote village of Cressmouth.Benjamin is a Duke who is dedicated to his role in the House of Lords. Between looking after his estate and his official duties, he doesn't have time for much else. Noelle has only known one home. Cressmouth. It's a close knit community where it's Christmas all year round. She works hard to play her role in this community that she loves.Benjamin left Cressmouth five years ago and had This is a charming and humourous historical romance set in the cold, picturesque and remote village of Cressmouth.Benjamin is a Duke who is dedicated to his role in the House of Lords. Between looking after his estate and his official duties, he doesn't have time for much else. Noelle has only known one home. Cressmouth. It's a close knit community where it's Christmas all year round. She works hard to play her role in this community that she loves.Benjamin left Cressmouth five years ago and had no intention of returning. His only good memory of the place is Noelle. Before, he left, he was robbed of his most treasured family heirloom. He now has the chance to retrieve his family legacy and makes the journey to Cressmouth where Christmas is still being celebrated. He doesn't celebrate Christmas. It only brings bad memories. He hates the jolly atmosphere and his only reprieve is Noelle! It doesn't matter as he has no intention of staying, but the reading of the Will gives him no choice, but to stay and complete a task before he can claim his legacy!He finds himself working alongside Noelle and as hard as he tries, he is a unable to stay away from her. Memories of the past come flooding back, but he doesn't want a repeat of what happened before. If only their situation were different and the society wasn't so rigid in its expectations. He is impressed by Noelle's abilities and the numerous tasks that she undertakes in the castle. She fights her feelings too, but finds herself doing little things that mean a lot to him. She also finds a different side to him and the real reason why he left without saying goodbye. Will history repeat itself or will they find a way to give their hearts what they want?This is an easy to read story. It's humourous, but there is angst too. The inhabitants of Cressmouth are a jolly bunch. They also have a strong tie with one another. Noelle considers everyone to be family and nothing makes her happier than to make everyone happy. She is kind and understanding and is willing to put her heart on the line once again. Benjamin doesn't fare any better, but they both decide to fight for their hearts desire and it proves to be more than worth it. It's an entertaining and festive read and would appeal to fans of historical romance.I was kindly issued with an eARC and the views expressed are my personal opinion.
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  • Marcia
    January 1, 1970
    Skillfully developed characters, lush descriptions and an engaging scenario. Benjamin Ward, the fifth Duke of Silkridge, gave up on love years ago, as everyone he loved left him. His mother died from complications of his birth, around Christmas time and that was the last time his father celebrated the holiday. His maternal grandfather, blames him for his mother's death and even told him that he wished he had never been born. Five years ago, his father died, also around Christmas and his grandfat Skillfully developed characters, lush descriptions and an engaging scenario. Benjamin Ward, the fifth Duke of Silkridge, gave up on love years ago, as everyone he loved left him. His mother died from complications of his birth, around Christmas time and that was the last time his father celebrated the holiday. His maternal grandfather, blames him for his mother's death and even told him that he wished he had never been born. Five years ago, his father died, also around Christmas and his grandfather stole his most precious possession, a locker with a miniature portrait of his parents holding him as an infant. His whole life is now about Parliament, but he is forced to return to Cressmouth, the location of his grandfather's castle, to retrieve his locket, now that his grandfather has died. The people of Cressmouth, know a different side of his grandfather, Mr. Marlowe, who revived the town and restored the castle. Miss Noelle Pratchet, had been left as a founding at the castle steps, and was raised by Mr. Marlow and had been a friend of Benjamin's, but never knew how he was treated by his grandfather and the cause of the animosity between them. When he left Cressmouth 5 years ago, he never planned to come back and did not say good-bye to her, after he had shared a kiss. She was very hurt and tries to give him the cut, but she still fells very deeply for him, while he is afraid of the feelings he has for her. To regain the locker, the will obligates him to fulfill a task, so his stay last longer then expected. Will he be able to leave Noelle again and can she protect heart from breaking again?I have found all of the author's books entertaining, but this one left me puzzled. Something was missing, but I can put a finger on what that is. We never do learn who Mr Marlowe left the castle to. Was the test in his will, his last attempt to make things right for Benjamin and Noelle?I received a free, advanced copy of this book from the author. This is my unbiased and voluntary review.
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  • Bernadette
    January 1, 1970
    Once upon a DukeThis is the first book in a new series by Erica. The town of Cressmouth has changed its name to Christmas in order to reinvigorate the area. It’s a year round Christmas feast. Although I love the anticipation of Christmas only being once a year, this is a fun concept for a series. With a mix of the Twelve days of Christmas and a Christmas Carol (poetic license on the date), there are a wealth of characters to encounter. Many of the minor characters in this book will probably get Once upon a DukeThis is the first book in a new series by Erica. The town of Cressmouth has changed its name to Christmas in order to reinvigorate the area. It’s a year round Christmas feast. Although I love the anticipation of Christmas only being once a year, this is a fun concept for a series. With a mix of the Twelve days of Christmas and a Christmas Carol (poetic license on the date), there are a wealth of characters to encounter. Many of the minor characters in this book will probably get their own time to shine in the coming stories.In this story we meet Benjamin, Duke of Silkridge, and Noelle. Each of these characters have abandonment issues: Noelle was left in a basket on a doorstep as a baby and Benjamin lost both of his parents during the Christmas season. Because of this loss Benjamin is a Christmas humbug. “...In a world where nothing lasted, it was better not to try, not to be disappointed, not to get hurt...” (Excerpt) Noelle, however, “...had strived to be an indispensable part of her community. Not just to be needed, to be wanted, ... to ensure she would never again be left behind.” (Excerpt)They have known each other for many years, really belong together, but think it is impossible. Benjamin returns to Cressmouth for the reading of his Grandfather’s will and rekindles his relationship with Noelle.The story is light, fun and full of hope and positivity. There is a character that speaks in bird analogies and lone Pygmy goat. It is the perfect pick-me-up. I look forward to getting the same feeling from the other books in the series on the lead up to Christmas. The writing is very descriptive, allowing the reader to visualise the scenery with ease, such as, “...the endless gray skies above had begun to clot with heavy clouds.” (Excerpt).This story is a wonderful way to spend some ‘me’ time.
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  • Diana Aden
    January 1, 1970
    Once Upon a Duke is book 1 in the three book series 12 Dukes of Christmas offered by Erica Ridley. It is loosely based upon Dickens Christmas Carol. I was fortunate to receive an ARC from the author and offer this voluntary review of what I read. I have also purchased this work.The setting is the village of Cressmouth in northern England, where all of the citizens celebrate and live Christmas year round. Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge, reluctantly returns to Cressmouth upon the death of his gra Once Upon a Duke is book 1 in the three book series 12 Dukes of Christmas offered by Erica Ridley. It is loosely based upon Dickens Christmas Carol. I was fortunate to receive an ARC from the author and offer this voluntary review of what I read. I have also purchased this work.The setting is the village of Cressmouth in northern England, where all of the citizens celebrate and live Christmas year round. Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge, reluctantly returns to Cressmouth upon the death of his grandfather for the reading of the will. He will only stay long enough for the reading and retrieval of a family heirloom. He renews his acquaintance with an old friend, Noelle Patchett. She does not welcome his return as when she last saw him five years before, he left abruptly without any farewell.Once Upon a Duke is filled with several laugh-out-loud, hilarious moments. The bah, humbug Duke is not happy when the will requires him to spend extra time in "Christmas," fulfilling the will's stipulation. During this time, Noelle's duties bring her in closer contact with the Duke. She is able to get him to experience more activities in the village and make more contact with the people.It was heartwarming to see the growing relationship develop between Benjamin and Noelle. He did not have happy memories from his previous times spent at Cressmouth. During his adult life, he has focused his efforts on responsibilities and duties in parliament for the betterment of his country and avoided coming back to the village. Noelle, somehow, is able to get him to share the reasons why he does not like being there. There is sadness in his story, but freedom in the release. Despite his acknowledged feelings for Noelle, he knows there is no hope to continue their relationship because of the differences in their respective class in life. Will they be able to overcome what separates them? Will love prevail? The reasons I enjoyed this book: wonderful characters, entertaining, easy to read, funny, romantic, and happily ever after. I joyfully recommend this feel-good read.
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