A clean Regency romance and not just for Christmas!
He was a duke who wanted to be a toymaker. She fell in love with a toymaker but her parents wanted her to marry a duke.
Lady Ivy Plumthorne, elder daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Wythorpe, is a worry to her parents. Desiring only that she be as happily wed as her younger sister, they’ve spent the past year parading prospective suitors in front of her. When she finds none of the suitors… suitable, her parents despair she will ever find the perfect husband. With Christmas approaching, they find one more prospective suitor, the Duke of Greenbriar. Only problem is, Ivy’s already met the man of her dreams… and he’s a toymaker.
Noel Phillip Vincent Greenstone, the Twelfth Duke of Greenbriar, wasn’t cut out to be a duke. He preferred crafting toys that made children happy. So that’s just what he did. And as Phillip Green, he traveled freely about, visiting shops and orphanages, and making certain no child went without a toy of his or her own. But after a few chance meetings with Lady Ivy, he knows he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. The problem is, she needs to marry a nobleman and she only knows him as Phillip the Toymaker. He needs a plan, and fast. The world needs to meet the reclusive Duke of Greenbriar, so Phillip plans his own coming out. But how will Ivy react when she learns the truth?
Review: The Toymaker is a very sweet Historical Romance by Kay Springsteen. I was drawn in from the beginning which actually opens in the present day, just before Christmas. Angela and her two children wander into an antique store and stumble over a box of treasures: toys and a diary from 1812. My own heart beat as quick as Angela’s at her find – just the thought of finding treasures such as those! When they set out to read the diary, the author jumps back into 1812, and we live the story of Lady Ivy and how she meets a man she falls for, Phillip Green.
Ivy’s parents are desperate to see their eldest daughter settled with a husband – after all, their younger daughter met and married a wonderful man. But Ivy doesn’t want to settle for anyone, especially the lechers and doddering fools who have been introduced to her so far. She meets Phillip Green, a man she believes to be a simple toymaker. But he’s really the Duke of Greenbriar, a man her parents are determined to have her meet. Phillip recently inherited the title, but Ivy doesn’t know the old duke passed away and left his dukedom to the handsome young man. Phillip is just as fascinated by Ivy as she is of him – but he hides his identity from her in order to get to know her better. And as readers, we all know what happens to best laid plans…they go awry when she discovers who he really is.
I very much enjoyed this holiday story. I love how the author wove in the legend of Santa Claus into this story. Phillip learned the craft of toymaking from Jani Klaus, an older gentleman with white hair and beard. Phillip’s best friend/butler is of short stature and foreign descent (hello, elf!). And Phillip crafts his beautiful creations to give away to children who would not otherwise have toys to play with.
Ivy herself is a kind and generous person. Her parents are titled and moneyed, and she makes sure to help those in need. But she makes sure to help in ways that those who need it are left with pride intact, and not objects of outright charity. This is one of the many things that draws her to Phillip. The one thing about her that I didn’t care for was her giggling. While she is the older sibling, and almost on the shelf, the giggling made her seem flighty and too young.
But all in all, this was a lovely read. I’d not read any of Kay Springsteen’s books yet, and this was a wonderful introduction to her writing. I liked how she opened and closed this story in the present day, and leaving a hint of mystery as to how an English diary and toys winds up in Virginia. The author is writing a sequel to this story, one that focuses on Eduard, the friend/butler to Phillip, and Elise, Lady Ivy’s ex-governess and friend. I’m looking forward to a continuation!