The Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau by Mary Balogh
The Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau
Two Novels

In all the Christmas novels and novellas I have written, Christmas is not an accidental setting but is central to the development and outcome of the love story. It could not have happened in the same way at any other time of the year.

A Christmas Bride is the love story of two characters from other books of mine. Edgar Downes is the very wealthy, middle-class brother of Cora Downes (The Famous Heroine). He is in his mid-thirties, and finally it is time to settle down and start a family with a respectable young bride. He goes to London in search of a suitable candidate, vowing that he will be married or at least engaged before Christmas. Helena, Lady Stapleton, is the "wicked stepmother" of Sir Gerald Stapleton (A Precious Jewel). Now a widow in her mid-thirties, she has lived for many years with the guilt of having tried to seduce her young and impressionable stepson. She is cynical and bored and planning seek diversion by spending Christmas with friends in Italy. But when Edgar and Helena meet at an evening party, they somehow end up spending the night together, and both of them find their lives and their plans turned upside down.

Christmas Beau is a story of revenge derailed by Christmas. Judith Easton once jilted the Marquess of Denbigh in order to marry another man. It was an unhappy marriage, and she is now a widow with two young children. Denbigh has never forgotten his humiliation—or forgiven. When he meets Judith again, he sets out to seduce her and break her heart. But, poor man, he chooses entirely the wrong time of year in which to do it. He invites Judith and her children to spend Christmas with him and other guests at his country home.

Dell, ISBN 978-0-440245469

The Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh, 1997 Christmas Beau by Mary Balogh, 1991