Fanciful Reader

a book blog about romance and more. . .

A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh

A Christmas PromiseA Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions—especially when a couple seems as well matched as Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, and his bride-to-be, Eleanor Transome. Ellie brings to the marriage a vast dowry, while Falloden, though distant, is handsome, tremendously desirable, and possessed of a title most young ladies can only dream of sharing.

Yet Ellie is not most young ladies. She knows that she must honor her dear father’s dying wish for her to wed the proud earl, but she dreads a lifetime in a union without love—and how can Falloden claim to love her when he married her only for her fortune? As Christmas descends upon the Falloden manor, the warmth of the season may yet melt away the trappings of duty and wealth, leaving behind only a man and a woman destined for each other’s arms.

A Christmas Promise takes familiar tropes and themes and presents them in a way that feels totally new and unique. I’ve heard Balogh’s books referred to as “high concept” and after reading several of them, I understand why.

A Christmas Promise had a lot more angst than other Christmas-themed romances I’ve read recently. I found that Ellie was more prickly than other “nouveau riche” heroines I’ve encountered. While this meant it took me a long time to warm up to her, in the end it made her seem more of a complete character–I don’t like it as much when such heroines are all sweetness and humility. On the other hand, I found Randolph to be a mostly honorable man from the start–perhaps only with the exception of his treatment of Ellie on their wedding night.

Possible spoiler ahead: I was glad that Balogh didn’t make the love triangle involving Ellie’s former beau Wilfred the focus of the story. Maybe if it had been a longer book this would have been explored in more detail.

This was a very quick read for me that felt a lot more complete and in all, a more satisfying story than any of the Christmas novellas I’ve read. I already have Under the Mistletoe, a collection of Christmas stories by Mary Balogh waiting for me to pick up at the library.

Which holiday themed book are looking forward to reading next?

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