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Haberdashers Tales #1

A Common Christmas

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A young woman, desperate to have one last lovely Christmas, brings the spirit of the season to the Harrington household.

Grace Ashman has lost everything: her mother five years ago, and now her father and her home just a week before Christmas. She lives on the streets until one kind man invites her inside for a meal before the holiday. What she couldn’t know is that his kindness will change her life forever.

Joshua Dibbs has been the butler at the Earl of Harrington’s London town home since 1809. If there is one thing Dibbs is known for, it is doing things properly. At least until now. Alas, when the earl arrives unexpectedly, the butler is reliant on help from a homeless woman to keep the household running until the staff returns!


First published December 11, 2013

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About the author

Sue London

41 books180 followers
Best selling author Sue London created the beloved Regency romance series The Haberdashers. If you like your historical romance with a little action, a little humor, and a lot of strong-minded women, then this is the series for you!

Recent reader reactions:
"Sue London is a very gifted writer. I always enjoy reading her books." ~ Annie
"It was so well written, and the storyline is wonderfully thrilling. If I could I would have rated this book a ten, but five is all they allow so that's what it is." ~ Pattimari
"This witty love story enchanted me, and I look forward to reading more of the Haberdashers series." ~ ReaderLady

For more on Sue you can check out her website, twitter page, or be her fan on Facebook.

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5 stars
106 (40%)
4 stars
80 (30%)
3 stars
58 (22%)
2 stars
10 (3%)
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6 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer.
2,726 reviews6 followers
May 17, 2018
2.5 stars.

Surprisingly well developed for a short, I enjoyed this one. I'm not interested in the earl's story, but this story was the best kind of Christmas romance. It was safe, clean, and sweet.
Profile Image for Cheesecake.
2,680 reviews368 followers
January 30, 2018
I revisited this as an audiobook and enjoyed it just as much the second time round. The reader; Matthew Lloyd Davies does a great job!
Original review:

Although this story starts before Athena's Ordeal, I think it could be read before or after without giving anything away.

Grace the homeless woman and Josh aka Dibbs, the butler.

A lovely love story between a butler and lady down on her luck (due to her horrid brother). It's a short story that takes place before the beginning of the first story in the series and goes til part way through that story. So you get glimpses of the other story and Gideon now and then. Mostly though this is about a man who has become too serious a work-a-holic, but learns to enjoy life again when he meets Grace.
Grace finds herself living on the street after her brother kicks her out. Then just before Christmas she knocks on Josh's door looking for food and a spot of warmth. Josh is torn between letting her in, a complete stranger, and turning her away. Of course he lets her in, and then circumstances get out of control and next thing you know Grace is working for the house and Josh finds himself lighting up whenever she's around. It's not a simple story and the characters have a surprising amount of depth considering the brevity of the tale.
I love a historical story where the MCs aren't aristocrats!
Safe read and one of my favourite proposals ever!
Profile Image for Trish R..
1,737 reviews44 followers
November 2, 2019

This was a very strange historical novella: it was the butler who fell in love and married the homeless girl he took in when all the inside help went off for the Christmas season, and then the earl came home, so Grace helped as much as she could.

It was a cute story and all the help from the stables and the earl’s valet were all sweet characters, as was the earl himself.

It could have had a little more to it, IMO.

No sex.

As for the narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies was barely okay for me. His woman’s voice was poor and he read without any emotions whatsoever.
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,778 reviews45 followers
December 24, 2013
Short, sweet and utterly charming!!

This was one of the sweetest love stories I have read in a very long time.

No angst, no love triangles, no man-ho hero. Just a sweet story about two people falling in love at Christmas.

I loved it! I usually enjoy a lot more heat in my books, but honestly I didn't miss the sex in this book - it was perfect the way it is.

I would highly recommend this author to anyone who enjoys historical romance. The Haberdashers series is outstanding and this novella is a nice addition to the series!! Can't what for George's story!!!!
Profile Image for Diane Lang.
69 reviews3 followers
December 17, 2013
This short story is so sweet and touching, it brought a big smile to my face. Grace and Dibbs are below stairs folks, who work very, very hard to make sure the household ran smoothly. It is set before Trials of Artemis and gives us some insight into what Gideon's life was like before Jack blew in. Makes me want to go and re-read Sue's other two books. I LOVE her writing and her wonderful characters.

A real holiday treat! Thanks!
Profile Image for Marianna.
341 reviews476 followers
March 10, 2014
Read more reviews at A Lust For Reading. I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I loved Sue London's first two books in her The Haberdashers series so I was excited to read the first novella in the Haberdashers Tales mini-series. Unlike the full-length novels, which are a bit on the steamy side, the Tales novellas are more on the sweet side. No there isn't any sex in this read, but trust me it doesn't need it.

You can't come across harder times than Grace Ashman has. With both her parents now gone, she finds herself homeless just a week before Christmas. She knocks on the back door of the Earl of Harrington's house hoping that whoever answers will be kind enough to offer her any sort of help. When butler Joshua Dibbs opens the door, he isn't expecting to find a young woman and her cat standing there drenched in the pouring rain. He finds himself doing the unusual: inviting her in to dry off and eat. His pretty visitor turns out to be a blessing when the Earl returns home early for the holidays. Running the household on a limited staff should be nearly impossible, but with the help of Grace they will try to pull it off. And while she does a stellar job of cooking, she also manages to bring some much needed holiday spirit to the household.

I enjoy Regency era romance books and reading all about the lords and ladies. It is so rare that we get a glimpse into the lives of the common people that are running the show behind the scenes. So this was a nice little taste of that, especially since the household in this story belongs to Gideon Wolfe (Earl of Harrington) who is the hero of Trials of Artemis. He also makes an appearance here in A Common Christmas and I liked getting to see another side of him. I defintely enjoyed this and I am looking forward to more in both The Haberdashers series and Haberdashers Tales series.
798 reviews17 followers
October 28, 2014
Marked as The Haberdashers #2.1, and as a Tale is apparently as clean as The Haberdashers isnt! At time of reading/reviewing, I haven't read other books in the series (Trials of Artemis being the first in the series) I couldn't possibly comment!

Anyway, this is a standalone book, where you dont need to know other characters elsewhere in the series to enjoy it. It's a short story length, and with virtually all the staff having been sent home for the Christmas holidays by Dibbs, the butler, there is a naturally reduced cast list to contend with.

Grace Ashman has been kicked out of the house by her (unseen) brother after the death of their remaining parent, all a week before Christmas. She has trailed through the streets of London, finding out who her true friends are - she has none it turns out - and after a week of walking the streets she takes the chance and knocks on a back door, which is opened by Joshua Dibbs the Butler.

Dibbs is on his own, after his master has gone to the country for Christmas, and Dibbs has left the staff take a few days for Christmas. He has no idea why he opened the door, or why he let the girl stay to dry out. However, he is thankful when the Earl returns to London earlier than expected, and with no cook or female servants in the house!

Turns out that Grace is a decent if simple cook, and is roped into cooking and cleaning duties until the main staff arrive back. She has to contend with outrageous flirting from the Earl's valet Whitman (who it turns out is Dibbs' cousin) but it goes nowhere but to force Dibbs into showing his hand under the mistletoe on Christmas day.

This is a short sweet novel, ideal book to wile away a few hours, no matter what the time of year. I'm certainly going to check out other books in this series, and see where we go!
Profile Image for Judy.
3,019 reviews
November 19, 2014
A Common Christmas by Sue London
Haberdashers Tales Book One
Joshua Dibbs, is one serious butler. He is by-the-rules and no exceptions. Then one cold rainy night a knock on the servant’s door has him wavering from his stern ways. He wouldn’t normally allow a beggar to enter his master’s home, but she’s carrying something small. How could he turn away a woman if she has a child?

Grace Ashman had lost so much when her family passed. Now she has nothing and must depend on the kindness of others. And not many have kindness. When the door is opened for her this time her hopes rise up. Will she finally have a home and shelter for a day or two? Or even just a night?

This is so unique. A look at the Regency from below-stairs. Dibbs is the butler to Gideon Wolfe, who is at his country home for Christmas. He was also Gideon’s friend at one time before he became an earl. The next story in the Tales series is about Whit who is Dibb’s cousin, Fortune Said. The Haberdasher Tales are sweet books.
Profile Image for Queen of the Geeks.
103 reviews2 followers
September 1, 2019
I love that the author has all different levels of heat for her book series. This is a sweet romance book. No sex, just kissing.

Short story about Lord Lucifer's butler and how he finds his wife. Takes place over Christmas when the butler takes pitty on a poor homeless girl turned out by her family into the streets. He give her a warm place to dry off, food, employment and the love she no longer has from family.

Not all romance has to be hot. A very kind story about charity and love.
Profile Image for Deanna Stanley.
211 reviews6 followers
December 14, 2013
This a sweet, Christmas romance. I really enjoyed the peek into the lives of the servant class - they rarely get fleshed out as characters, but this time they got a story just about themselves!
This story is a little Christmas gift to romance readers. It's short, sweet, and satisfying, all tied up in a red ribbon.
Profile Image for Cara.
344 reviews12 followers
January 23, 2014
This is a short story (a novella), but very sweet. It is great to have a prequel style glimpse into the life of "Lord Lucifer" as well as showing the "downstairs" side of society. I read this book over the holidays (just now getting around to my reviews) and really enjoyed this light-hearted read.
Profile Image for Maria .
2,189 reviews19 followers
July 20, 2014
I have to say this short story was truly delightful. I truly loved it. Oh my, I laughed out loud throughout my read. The banter between Dibbs and Whit was wonderful. Now, I want Whit to find his happily ever after too. I also want to know when the time comes about Dibbs and fatherhood. It would be hysterical. This was a wonderful read this Christmas Eve. Thanks to Sue London.
Profile Image for Tamara.
408 reviews7 followers
May 3, 2015
I really enjoyed this sweet story. It has a nice amount of Christmas details, and I really enjoyed the characters. I was worried that the premise was too ridiculous, but it worked. Don't expect the sex scenes in her other books. But if you want a happy Christmas story's, I recommend this one.
429 reviews2 followers
May 6, 2014
I think that this is the most perfect novella that I have ever read. It is so heartwarming. I highly recommend this one for fans of historical romance!
Profile Image for Lynn.
3,025 reviews70 followers
January 19, 2016
This was a delightful short novella filled with love, understanding and Christmas understanding. Took only maybe an hour and a half to read and will go find the rest of her books!
Profile Image for Shaun.
425 reviews
August 25, 2022
Most clossy! So fauncy! This was a nice, mild read. If you're in the mood for a short, sweet romance, this is the story for you.
Profile Image for Sieravonne.
358 reviews3 followers
March 6, 2018
Nice story. It gave me a glimpse on what happens in the kitchen of the house of aristocrats. However, for a serious butler, Dibbs was too fast---holding Grace's waist when they don't have any understandings yet??
Profile Image for Nola Arganbright.
1,590 reviews27 followers
December 19, 2018
A true Christmas

A beautifully written Regency romance Christmas story. From the moment she had arrived at the kitchen door, soaked and hoping to find a safe and warm harbor, she had added joy to the residence.
Profile Image for Brittany.
3,075 reviews23 followers
March 18, 2019
This was a short story set in the Haberdasher’s world. I hadn’t read any others in the series so I went in blind. I was enjoying the story up until the epilogue where it shared way too much about the other series. It was okay up until then.
11 reviews
October 29, 2017
Unfinished business

Not so much a review but an anger what happened to Charlie and Charlotte so much left unfinished. Do please finish their storey.
Profile Image for Tanya.
422 reviews5 followers
December 20, 2017
Maybe I shouldn't be trying so hard to make myself have some Christmas spirit. This was well-reviewed at Dear Author and had a kitten on the cover. But it was not very good. On to the next one!
Profile Image for Diane Horne.
600 reviews6 followers
September 3, 2018
A Common Christmas (Book 1) By Sue London

Five stars, this was a real cute romantic love story..Love Josh and Grace they were ment to be together..Romantic Christmas love story.
Profile Image for Kbee.
1,521 reviews3 followers
December 21, 2018
Audible Romance Package

AUDIOBOOK: Read December 20th 2018
2hrs 11min

Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies does a good job.
Really like this one ...sweet Christmas Romance.
91 reviews7 followers
May 17, 2015
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. This book includes characters from the author's other books that detail the Haberdasher series. This book is a short story that features a few of the characters. While it may be part of a series, it is definitely a stand alone book. I have not read any of the other Haberdasher novels and did not have any confusion regarding who is who. The story is centered around the staff of an earl's townhome when he randomly returns home from his house in the country a few days before Christmas. This is a story about compassion, love, hope and most importantly the importance of friendship. I really did enjoy this book and would recommend that others read this story as well.
Profile Image for Sandy Digger.
512 reviews1 follower
September 22, 2016
The other side

Having read the Haberdasher books this was a lovely look at the supporting staff. Quite romantic for a stuffy butler, this is the story of Dibbs and how his world is turned upside down when a bedraggled young lady shows up at the kitchen door the week of Christmas. He is alone since he allowed all of the staff to go home for the holidays, and then the Earl shows up and what's a proper butler to do? I enjoyed this short book greatly.
260 reviews
September 27, 2016
Wonderful, Sweet Regency Romance of Common People

This is so wonderfully different from most Regency stories. It is about two people...not royalty. The tale of below stairs...a butler and a young lady of the merchant class. Well written and evenly paced. Loved it!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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