A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh
A Christmas Promise
A Novel

The Earl of Falloden inherited heavy debts along with his title fourteen months before the start of the book. He has little chance of every repaying them. But then he is given the chance to have all his debts cancelled if he will marry the daughter of the man who has bought them up. Mr. Transome, enormously wealthy coal merchant, is dying and wants to settle his daughter into a secure marriage before he goes. The earl is forced to agree but vows silently to make his conniving bride suffer for what ambition has won for her.

Eleanor Transome, meanwhile, is appalled by what her father has arranged for her, but he is fast dying and he is everything in the world to her. How can she refuse his final request? She agrees to marry the Earl of Falloden, but privately she vows to make him suffer for what cynical greed has won for him.

It is not an auspicious start to a marriage. But Christmas is coming and the earl invites a few friends to spend it at his country home-and tells Eleanor that she may invite guests of her own. He does not specify a number, however, and soon finds his home overrun for Christmas with loud, perhaps vulgar, but utterly warm-hearted Transomes.

And Christmas, as always, is the time for love and peace and healing.

Dell Historical, ISBN 978-0440246343

The Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh, 1997