today’s book: Joy to the World
In case you missed it, yesterday I started my annual blog series spotlighting (over 50 this year) new and recently-released Christmas reads! (And I’m SO EXCITED about it!)
Christmas is still 35 days away, according to Google BUT after the ‘stink, stank, stunk’ year 2020 has been, I think we all could benefit from some extra Christmas cheer. ‘Tis the season when I really start craving cozy Christmas reads (even more than I do the rest of the year lol), so now is the perfect time to jump right into these posts!
Continuing through just before Christmas, I’m going to spotlight several new/recent Christmasy releases. So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)
Today’s featured book is a Regency romance collection by three fantastic authors – and I’ve got a fun Q&A with all three!
JOY TO THE WORLD
GENRE: Inspirational Regency Christmas Romance collection
RELEASE DATE: October 13, 2020
Inspirational Regency romance with a Christmas twist from three best-selling authors
In Joy to the World, three popular romance authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness.
“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller
Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome both their obligations and their fears to find their way back into each other’s arms?
“Far as the Curse Is Found” by Amanda Barratt
One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts?
“Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch
A Scots portrait painter finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart.
I am so delighted to welcome Amanda Barratt, Carolyn Miller, and Erica Vetsch to the blog today to chat about Joy to the World and, of course, Christmas! All three are women I consider sweet friends as well as marvelous authors.
Q: Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Amanda: Hot chocolate. Especially when topped with whipped cream. 🙂
Carolyn: Hot chocolate! (What even is egg nog, anyway? Although, depending on the summer weather here in Australia when we have Christmas, maybe a nice bowl of cooling watermelon punch might be the ticket!)
Erica: Hot Chocolate…but not too hot, since I tend to burn my tongue on hot drinks and then everything tastes like burnt tongue… 🙂 I am not an Eggnog fan. At. All. I can barely drink milk, much less nog…
Carrie: hot chocolate for the win here too!
Q: Candy Canes or Fudge?
Amanda: Fudge. Whether peanut butter, chocolate, or peanut butter AND chocolate, fudge is the food definition of bliss.
Carolyn: Candy canes if they’re not too sharp-minty tasting or too hard, which really makes fudge the easier option, doesn’t it? Although this year I’m trying to be more conscious of my sugar intake, so maybe I’ll stick with cheese and crackers…
Erica: Candy Canes at Christmas, fudge other times of the year, because…chocolate! There’s just something festive and right about Candy Canes at Christmas. 🙂
Carrie: ok y’all – i’m gonna have to go with Amanda on this answer … unless it’s a cherry flavored candy cane & then all bets are off 😉
Q: Fancy wrapping paper or Find the gift bags from last year?
Amanda: There’s something about tearing into wrapping paper that encapsulates the joy and wonder of Christmas morning. Here’s my secret though—I usually buy it on after-Christmas clearance and in a neutral color, so it can be used for other holidays throughout the year.
Carolyn: As an environmentally aware human I like to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible.
Erica: Gift Bags! I am a ROTTEN gift-wrapper. If a package looks like it was wrapped by a drunk T-Rex…that’s mine!
Carrie: hahaha Erica, I am the same way, though I do love being given beautifully wrapped gifts!
Q: Open gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Amanda: Christmas Day. I love the anticipation of waiting until Christmas morning.
Carolyn: It’s Christmas Day all the way for us! And then we get to do it the next day (Boxing Day) as well when we visit my hubby’s side of the family. Win, win!
Erica: Christmas Day! I used to get to open one gift on Christmas Eve, but it was usually the dress my mom made for me for the Christmas Eve service at church…a dress I already knew about because she’d pinned it to me during construction several times!
Carrie: We always used to open one gift on Christmas Eve but we got to choose which one to open. And then all the rest were Christmas Day. Now it’s just Christmas Day 🙂
Q: If you could spend one Christmas in the Regency era, what do you think you would love most about how they celebrate? What would you miss about how we celebrate Christmas in modern times?
Amanda: One of the Regency holiday traditions I came across in my research was Twelfth Night, celebrated on January 5th. In the Regency era, Twelfth Night balls and parties marked the final night of holiday festivities. On Twelfth Night, an elaborately decorated cake was served and every person in the household, even the staff, received a slice. Baked inside the cake were a pea and a bean. The man whose slice contained the bean became King for the night, and the woman who found the pea in hers was named Queen. Whoever received the special slices—no matter their social status—were treated as the guests of honor for the evening. What a fun tradition!
I would definitely miss decorating a Christmas tree. Though Queen Charlotte, the German born wife of King George III, had a Christmas tree in the drawing room at Windsor as early as 1800, Christmas trees did not achieve widespread popularity in Britain until the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert revived the tradition.
Carolyn: I think the Christmas food in the Regency era would be super amazing – I love a fabulous roast dinner with all the trimmings, and they knew how to do trimmings in Regency times! And the parlor games would be fun. And the fact that there’s a chance I could finally experience a WHITE Christmas (Summer in Australia doesn’t really allow for that).
Maybe I’d miss the sense of being really clean (haha) from modern times, and the fact that technology and transport means we can have my sister visit from Canada (although not this year, thanks, Covid 😥 ) and these days we can easily travel to great Christmas destinations – like the beach!
Erica: I think I would love the tradition of Boxing Day, where the alms box from the church was opened, and gifts were given to those in need.
I think I would miss Christmas trees and twinkly lights.
Carrie: I love those Twelfth Night festivities! And I also think Boxing Day and Regency-era Christmas sound perfectly fabulous. And I’m so glad someone else would miss twinkly lights too 🙂
Q: Which Christmas carol or song is your favorite & which is your least favorite?
Amanda: My favorite Christmas carol is Silent Night. I love the story behind its composition, the tender and profound lyrics, and how the carol has been woven into the fabric of history throughout the ages (such as when it was sung during WWI by soldiers in the trenches during the famous Christmas Truce). Singing Silent Night at the close of Christmas Eve candlelight service is one of my favorite moments of the holiday season.
My least favorite Christmas song? Hmm . . . probably Last Christmas. Whenever I hear it while out shopping, it gets stuck in my head, which drives me crazy. LOL.
Carolyn: I love O Holy Night, it’s such a powerful message encapsulated in a poignant melody, and a song I have sung at our local community Christmas carols for the past twenty years. It gives me chills to sing the line ‘Fall on your knees’ to a bunch of non-Christians chatting with their friends, and we watch the crowd quieten as the music and words echo around the main street of my town. It’s humbling and awesome.
Least favorite? It’s a toss up between the Little Drummer Boy and We Three Kings. Why? Because I don’t like the music, or the words, really (and they’re not exactly scripturally sound) 🙂
Erica: It’s so hard to choose a favorite! I do love Joy to the World, but I think my favorite is Silent Night. Or, O Come, All ye Faithful. Or O Little Town of Bethlehem. Or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing…see my problem!?
My least favorite? Can I say that Santa Baby sets my teeth on edge? Any version, any time. Or every version, every time.
Carrie: I also love each of your faves (and Erica’s eleventy bazillion lol) and I would wholeheartedly support petitions to forever abandon your least faves.
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from your story in Joy to the World, and why do you love it?
Amanda: “But as time went on, I realized our circumstances are not a reflection of His love. In spite of everything, He is the one certainty we can cling to.” These words from my heroine ministered to my heart as I wrote [Far As the Curse is Found].
Carolyn: Ooh, tricky! It’s between the decidedly unromantic line ‘Edith’s grandmother, widow of a baronet whose death disappointed nobody, and long considered one of Wycombe’s most hospitable ladies’ – which I love, because it’s a nod to one my favorite author Georgette Heyer’s fabulous way of phrasing to convey so much in a few words – and these far more romantic lines: ‘His arms drew her close as their kiss continued in a symphony of wonder, of yearning, of restored promise, Heat cascaded through his heart, pounding against his chest, while around them the warmth and floral fragrance and birdsong enveloped them in nature’s embrace, as if heaven itself were sealing this moment with its blessing.”
It captures what [Heaven and Nature Sing] is about, weaves in the song title, and after all the angst, is a moment that gives all the feels. Ahhh…. 🙂
Erica: “Heaven rejoiced to spread the good news through some of the least-considered citizens of Bethlehem. God saw those shepherds. Knew their names, their stories. And He chose to bless them, the small, not the great, with the birth announcement.”
These words are spoken by the preacher [in Wonders of His Love] as he prepared his congregation for the Christmas Season. Hamish, our hero, struggles with whether God sees him, since his most fervent prayer has gone unanswered. But using the example of the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth, the preacher speaks truth into Hamish’s heart that your station in life has nothing to do with how God values you. It’s a good reminder for me when thinking about myself, but also, and more importantly, when I’m thinking of others.
Carrie: These quotes are all so good, ladies! I can’t wait to read Joy to the World!
Amanda Barratt is the ECPA best-selling author of over a dozen novels and novellas including The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler and My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a two-time FHL Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She and her family live in northern Michigan. Visit her at www.amandabarratt.net.
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Visit her at www.carolynmillerauthor.com.
Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. Visit her at www.ericavetsch.com.
Erica Vetsch is offering a print copy of Joy to the World to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Joy to the World by Amanda Barratt, Carolyn Miller, and Erica Vetsch? Which author would your answers be most like if I asked you the same questions?