He wished to never see her again
Now he wishes she’ll stay…
Lord Grantwell hasn’t seen Lillian Pearson since she betrayed him years ago. So when she arrives on his doorstep looking for sanctuary, he’s not inclined to offer it! But when the two orphaned children in his care ask if she can stay for Christmas, how can he refuse? Grant and Lillian discover an intense attraction still simmers between them, and Grant starts to wonder if he has done her a grave injustice…
Paperback September 28, 2021
Ebook October 1, 2021
Grant walked back to his desk and closed the ledger. Surely, though, there was something in the pile of papers he’d forgotten to do or had never known to do.
Thompson, who’d been his family’s butler since he was a boy, entered the room. ‘Beg pardon, m’lord.’
‘What is it, Thompson?’ His tone was sarcastic. ‘Has the roof collapsed? Did the children break a priceless vase? Has Cook mutinied?’
Thompson seemed to take him seriously. ‘Nothing like that, m’lord.’ He sounded incredulous. ‘An applicant for the position of governess has arrived.’
‘For governess? Already?’
Grant had advertised for a governess. Given that the children were apparently running free through the servants’ passages, a governess was much needed. But he’d only sent the notice to an agency one week ago. The agency had hardly enough time even to receive his letter. An applicant in person? In a snowstorm?
‘Indeed, sir,’ Thompson responded. ‘On our doorstep. She waits in the hall.’
Grant clapped his hands and stood. ‘Well, Thompson! Things are looking up! At least one of my prayers is answered—that is if she does not have two heads or reek of gin or something.’
Thompson shook his head. ‘None of those things, m’lord.’
The tables of fate were turning. A governess would be a godsend.
Grant gestured grandly. ‘Send her in, Thompson!’
Grant stacked the papers neatly on the desk. Good thing he’d shaved himself that morning. Since giving his valet and most of the servants extra time off for Christmas —he had been supposed to be attending that detestable house party until Twelfth Night—he’d been tempted to revert to his days of marching through Spain, when a bearded face had not much mattered.
Thompson reappeared at the door. ‘Miss Pearson, m’lord.’
With a ready smile, Grant looked up as the governess walked in and Thompson exited the room.
The blood drained from Grant’s face.
Standing before him was a woman he’d wished never to see again—the one woman with whom he’d shared an irresistible passion…the woman who’d betrayed him so thoroughly.
God save him, she was as beautiful as ever. Hair dark as night. Eyes like warm chocolate. Nose regal. Lips naturally pursed, as if always ready for a kiss. But she was unusually pale and thin. Her clothes hung on her and he could smell their dampness from the melted snow.
He knew her as Lillian Carris. He’d first seen her feeding the hungry refugees who’d poured into Lisbon over the winter of 1810 when, as a green lieutenant, he’d first arrived in Portugal with his regiment. Later he’d made her acquaintance when attending entertainments with the Portuguese aristocrats who’d remained in Portugal after Prince John and others of the royal family had fled to Brazil. She was widowed, she’d told him, and their affair had been as torrid as that winter had been cold.
Until she’d stolen from him and almost succeeded in committing treason on his country and hers.
‘Senhora Carris.’ His voice was bitter. ‘Do not tell me you seek a position as governess.’
She smiled uncertainly. ‘I am afraid your butler jumped to that conclusion. I—I am Miss Pearson now. You—you have children, then?’
Did she think he’d had time to procreate? She knew how long the war had lasted.
‘They are not mine.’ He had no intention of explaining further. ‘You deceived my butler?’
‘I did not intend to deceive him. He asked me if I was seeking a position as governess, which I am—seeking a position, that is. But I did not know before I came that you needed a governess.’
‘Enough.’ He held up a hand. ‘Why are you here?’
‘I—I would not have come—would never have asked you—’ She faltered. ‘I need help.’
Five Stars! Diane Gaston’s historical romances are in a class of their own. She writes so beautifully and vividly and always delivers a rich and rewarding reading experience for her readers and she dazzles them yet again with her wonderful new novel, Lord Grantwell’s Christmas Wish. A captivating romantic drama about healing from the past, taking a chance on happiness and the power of everlasting love that effortlessly tugs at the heartstrings, readers will be completely swept away by Diane Gaston’s superb new novel, Lord Grantwell’s Christmas Wish.
With characters it is impossible not to care about, emotional veracity, spellbinding drama and tender romance, Lord Grantwell’s Christmas Wish is another winner for Diane Gaston.
Julie B., Bookish Jottings
Gaston fills the second sterling addition to her Captains of Waterloo series with holiday warmth and cheer before wrapping it up with her usual insightful characterization, empathetic storytelling, and perfect period details.
John Charles, Booklist
Five Stars! Diane Gaston has creatively intertwined this time in history with joyful holiday festivities, and the resulting storyline is constantly filled with anticipation for one event while being guarded because of uncertainty about other circumstances....A number of enchantingly delightful Christmas traditions of the Regency era are scattered throughout the story….This couple come across as very believable, as reactions are sincere while their inner feelings are so heartfelt, thus causing me to truly like them and hope they would finally have a sense of belonging. The second book in the Captains of Waterloo series is engaging at all times.
Barb's Review: ...Lord Grantwell’s Christmas Wish was a wonderful sweet story, with two precious kids, and a couple that were destined to be together. I really enjoyed this story, as it kept me glued to the book. I suggest you read Lord Grantwell’s Christmas Wish, which was very well written by Diane Gaston.
Vickie's Review: .... If you’re a fan of the genre, and even if you’re not, this one will pull you in from the first words. Well done, Diane Gaston! Very, very well done!
In her Regency romance featuring two estranged lovers, Gaston adds a dash of Christmas spice to a heartwarming story about the meaning of home and family...Readers get to experience the joy of Regency-era Christmas traditions and children’s pastimes as Lillian and Grant try to give William and Anna a happy holiday, falling in love in the process.
In researching Lord Grantwell's Christmas Wish I came across some new-to-me Regency Christmas traditions. I've blogged about Regency Christmases before, like at Risky Regencies in 2016, when Bound By a Scandalous Secret was a December release.
I mentioned things like Regency households did not have Christmas trees or send Christmas cards. Santa Claus came later, as did singing Silent Night. They did exchange gifts, decorate with winter greenery, and have special Christmas food. You can read the whole blog here.
Lord Grantwell's Christmas Wish was set in Yorkshire, so a couple of new traditions popped up in my research.
The first was a tradition involving lighting the yule log. To bring good luck, a large log was brought in on Christmas eve to burn constantly in the hearth until it has completely burned itself out. Before supper, when the yule log is burning, all other lights are extinguished, everyone is silent, and the youngest one present must light two special candles from the yule log while everyone makes a wish. The wish must be kept secret or it will not come true. In my book it is Anna, the youngest of Lord Grantwell's wards who lights the candles. And, of course, along with everyone else, Lord Grantwell makes his wish.
Another Yorkshire tradition I discovered took place on Christmas morning. For more good luck, on Christmas morning, before anything was taken out of the house, something green must be brought in, usually a leaf from an evergreen. Grant charges Anna and her brother William with this task.
Did you know there were different versions of The Wassail Song? Even though I was not absolutely sure the Wassail Song was sung in the Regency, I played upon the differences.
Here's an excerpt from the book:
“You are forgetting something, m’lord,” Thompson said.
“Forgetting something?” He was puzzled. “What?”
“The wassailing song,” Thompson said.
Anna’s face fell. “I do not know the wassailing song.”
“No?” Grant touched her cheek. “We will sing it for you.” He began and the servants joined in:
We've been a-while a-wandering,
Amongst the leaves so green.
But now we come a wassailing,
So plainly to be seen.
For it's Christmas time, when we travel far and near,
May God bless you and send you a happy New Year….
He paused. “Miss Pearson, why are you not singing?”
She shook her head. “That is not the song I know.”
“That is the wassail song,” he insisted.
“No,” she countered with a smile. This is the wassailing song.
Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand'ring
So fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year…
“No. No. No,” he protested. The words were slightly different. The tunes were slightly different. He led the servants in the second verse:
We are not daily beggars,
That beg from door to door,
But we are neighbors children,
Whom you have seen before…
Lillian stopped them. “That is the third verse,” she said. “Here is the second.”
Our wassail cup is made
Of the rosemary tree,
And so is your beer
Of the best barley.
He joined her in singing the refrain—his refrain along with hers, and they all continued singing verses with identical lyrics, Lillian’s differing version making a sort of harmony while the refrains sung together became a jumble.
He and the others ended the song, but she kept singing. One last verse.
Her singing slowed and she held her gaze on his:
God bless the master of this house
Likewise the mistress too,
And all the little children
That round the table go.
When she mentioned children she walked over to William and Anna and put her arms around them. Grant joined them as they sang the refrains one last time with the children trying to join in.
And God send you a Happy New Year…"
Here's Lillian's more familiar version
Love and joy come to you at all seasons and may all your wishes come true!