Is it too early to read holiday-themed books? Not for me apparently since I just read the last page of Mary Balogh's A Christmas Promise (on my new Kindle, naturally).
The novel first appeared as a Signet Regency in 1992. In it, the Earl of Falloden inherits heavy debts along with his title and agrees to marry the daughter of a wealthy coal merchant to have his debts cancelled. Eleanor Transome's father is gravely ill and wants to secure his daughter's future before he dies.
Both agree to the alliance. He thinks she is a grasping cold commoner who hungers to be a countess while she assumes Falloden is a greedy spendthrift.Of course neither is true!
When Eleanor invites her relatives to spend the holiday with them, Falloden is surprised to find himself drawn to the boisterous bunch. Since this is a romance as well as a Christmas story, it does have a happy ending. And the journey to get there is a fulfilling one.
Balogh is one of my favorites because of her spare, almost poetic, writing style. She deftly manages to evoke deep emotion with fewer words. Her writing brings to mind Willa Cather's sparse yet evocative style.
My only pet peeve is a meaningless one really. The cover shows a couple ice skating. I don't recall that happening in the book. Am I wrong? If you've read A Christmas Promise and do remember such a scene, let me know!
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