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A Christmas Bride / Christmas Beau (Stapleton-Downes )

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  698 ratings  ·  83 reviews
In a pair of classic Regency-era Christmas romance novels from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh, the holidays herald the greatest gift of all: unexpected, all-consuming love.

A Christmas Bride

The very wealthy Edgar Downes has promised his aging father to finally take a bride—specifically, to wed a titled lady by Christmas. London is full of pretty, proper, and
Mass Market Paperback, 499 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Dell (first published January 1st 2012)
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Devil in Winter by Lisa KleypasA Wallflower Christmas by Lisa KleypasThe Duke's Match Girl - A Fiery Tale Novella by Lila DiPasquaA Mackenzie Family Christmas by Jennifer AshleyA Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh
Historical Christmas/Winter Romance
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141st out of 269 books — 663 voters

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Community Reviews

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I was whelmed.

It is possible that these two novellas suffered from being read back to back, but on the whole, they weren't amazing.

In A Christmas Bride, Edgar Downes decides to marry a well-born woman of roughly his own age. He fixes on an apparently happy widow in a scarlet dress and there is a very low pre-negotiation hookup. Then he discovers that she is Secretly Tortured. And then they get married because... he wants to, and she is too filled with self-loathing to fight him? And then of cour
Two re-issued Mary Balogh Christmas-themed Regencies.

A CHRISTMAS BRIDE (1997) 2 stars

Not many authors can capture spirit of Christmas quite like Mary Balogh. She also excels at tackling some difficult situations in a way that allows readers to identify with the characters and really invest in the stories. But she missed the boat with this one.

The heroine is Gerald's wicked stepmother, Helena Stapleton, from A Precious Jewel and the hero is Cora’s brother, Edgar Downes, from The Famous Heroine.
Karla Brandenburg
A Christmas Bride - Helena Stapleton is a proud widow, cleverly hiding deep emotional scars beneath a confident facade. Along comes Edgar, a wealthy merchant and not one of the ton, in search of a titled bride. He has no need for wealth, but his father yearns for him to achieve some level of status as a result of their hard work. When Helena and Edgar lock eyes, sparks fly, but Helena is certainly not loveable, much less worthy of someone's forgiveness. That does not stop her from treating Edgar ...more
Both books were rereads for me, and my original opinion still holds. A Christmas Bride is a powerful book, one of those rare romances where the heroine is redeemed. The book is too dark to be one of my favorite, comfort-read Baloghs, but I think it it a remarkable story well told. I am glad Balogh wrote that epilogue later though. It adds a reassuring note to the HEA.

Christmas Beau is more predictable, and I'm not a fan of revenge plots. Still, it's a Balogh, which means that even if it's not on
Amy (and her hounds)
Quite dark for Christmas romances. But unlike many popular authors who re-release early stories that show how bad they were in the beginning, even Balogh's early stories are well-paced and -plotted. And I do enjoy romances in which the protagonists are average takes a flair to make them worth caring about, but when it works, it's fantastic. And Mary Balogh, like Lisa Kleypas, makes it work.
A Christmas Bride:

It took me a bit to get into this one b/c I really disliked the heroine. It's difficult to take a former antagonist and make her the heroine. Eventually I came to accept her, begrudgingly, but I never did like her. Still, the story was very unique and intriguing. The hero, especially, was fascinating. We don't see much about the non-gentry/aristocrats in regency romance. The wealthy merchant class is usually not something most writers touch because it doesn't fall into the temp
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Mary Balogh is one of my favorite romance authors. I did not discover her until many of her early books were out of print and way to expensive to buy used. I find it fun to see how her writing had changed and where some ideas have made their way into her newer books. While neither of these stories rank among my favoirte Mary Balogh books I enjoyed both.
Karyn Gerrard
3.5 out of 5 rounded up to 4.

Two previously published stories from the 1990's. Both solid, good reads. The heroine in the first story grated to no end, however, I adored the hero. He was too good for her. The second story, it was the hero who grated, but seeing these are Xmas stories, redemption plays a big part in the plots.
Melissa J. Katano
A Christmas twofer…..

A Christmas Bride

Wealthy cit Edgar Downes promises his aging father that he'll look for a bride to bring home for Christmas. As Edgar has been educated as a gentleman, his father wants him to find a bride from among the Ton. Helena, Lady Stapleton, decides to take a lover, and chooses Edgar. Although both enjoyed their one night of passion, neither is intent on continuing the affair…..

Enjoyable read.

A Christmas Beau

Judith Easton ran off with Andrew Easton, jilting Max, the E
Found Helena in A Christmas Bride a little hard to like - mainly because she didn't like herself. Christmas Beau was a real heart warming tear in the eye sort of story - perfect for this time of year!
Helena tries to avoid Edgar because she believes she is irredeemable; Max tries to get revenge on Judith, who jilted him a long time ago. Both novellas were well written, but not enjoyable.
I love Mary Balogh's Christmas stories. She really makes Christmastime a major character in the story which is what it's all about in my opinion.
For a Christmas short story read these were a little darker than I thought they would be, but I enjoyed both short stories.
I really liked A Christmas Bride, I was more lukewarm about Christmas Beau.
A Christmas Bride- Book 7 in the Stapleton-Downes series

3 stars

I started reading this book not realizing it is book 7 in the Stapleton-Downes series, I picked it up simply because I wanted to read a Christmas book. So, I've read the 3rd one and now the 7th one in this series, I'll eventually have to start at the very beginning and also read Dark Angel again since I don't remember what happened!

Anyway, I can see why this is a hard book to like by many readers. The heroine is almost unlikable, and
Lita Bouquard
2 dark, lengthy "short" stories that have characters with dark souls. The first story is about a beautiful widow who is socially likeable but personally quite hateful. She has punished herself for reprehensible actions she committed as a young bride. When gentlemanly-like business man Edgar Downes is entertained in society he expects to be rebuffed by many. He is proud of his achievements in life and has no desire to be anything than what he is- a forceful working man. He has promised his father ...more
Janice Liedl
These two books were wonderful but unusual romances, each featuring a character who needed the healing of some Christmas magic. Heavy on the Christmas elements as you might expect from the title: if you don't like the holiday or appeals to a Christmas spirit, back away now.

Also, if you have trouble with characters who bring a lot of baggage along with their romance, this pair of stories isn't for you. Helena in the first and Max in the second have both a lot of anger and bitterness darkening the
Carrie Olguin
Two full length stories in one package. The Christmas Bride is better than Christmas Beau, the latter I found rather slow.

The heroine in the Christmas Bride is sharp and abrasive and strangely compelling. She's a childless widow who believes she brings misery to any person she cares about; she doesn't deserve happiness. She wears a cynical and haughty mask to keep people at a distance.

At a ball, she sees the hero and decides to flirt with him. Instead, she seduces him.

The hero is a wealthy cit w
Wow, a lot of darkness and angst from a pair of Christmastime novellas.
One thing I will say is, both stories are typically Mary Balogh in that the characters (love 'em or hate 'em) are fleshed out and intriguing. The plots of both are original, too: Bride featured the redemption of a heroine - a rare feat - and Beau was a revenge story of two people who did everything wrong and still came together.

Bride is the story of Helena and Edgar. Edgar, a prosperous businessman, has promised his father to
Two books in one.

Christmas Bride is about a wealthy merchant-class man, Edgar Downes, who promised his father to wed--or be engaged to--a lady to bring home for Christmas. The problem is his wealth will only buy him so much in place of his birth, and the girls whose families are poor enough to take him on seem very young and nowhere near as tempting as the widow Lady Stapleton.

The characters struck me at times as a little overwrought and melodramatic--dire secrets hinted at that once revealed, d
A Christmas Bride:

Edgar is in love long before he realizes it. Why else would he put up with such game playing?! This story also brings closure to "A Precious Jewel" another story about non-alpha characters. I'm not quite sure I feel that Lady Helena is redeemed but certainly she needs forgiveness. I would have wished someone more willing to be forgiven for Edgar but if he is happy, I'm happy.

Christmas Beau:

The Marquess of Denbigh, Maxwell, is not a nice guy. Wanting to hurt someone else because
It is not often that a novella--at least, not in the romance genre--delves into the darkness and pain of the human soul. Then again, both of these novellas are nearly full-length novels, and both are written by Mary Balogh, whose recent works have dealt increasingly with more complicated characters and situations than are the standard fare. It makes for a refreshing, absorbing change, albeit not quite the escapist literature I had thought I was checking out from the library.

In "A Christmas Bride
Read the 1st a while ago, read A Christmas Beau yeasterday and just loved it. Misunderstandings abound as they always do. I love the way Balogh writes, and I was sitting in Disneyland, finishing this as I waited for my daughter to get off a ride, tears pouring down my face at the lovely (but not unexpected) ending. The love story of a lonely man who does not know how to show his feelings, and a young woman who doesn't understand her physical reaction to him, and how they both learn to love.
Susannah Carleton
3 1/2 stars. As much as I like Ms. Balogh's Christmas stories, The Christmas Bride is one I've never particularly enjoyed because the heroine seems so cold and manipulative. Christmas Beau, on the other hand, I like very much, even the the hero's intentions through much of the story are less than noble. For me, the theme of love and forgiveness is much more effective in the latter story,
Two stories in one book. I enjoyed the second a little more than the first. Both stories of older women, widows with a bit of a past. In the first, the woman has kept herself from a real relationship because of her shameful actions when she was newly married to an older man. In the second, the woman doesn't realize what effect her youthful actions had on the man she abandoned for another.

In both cases, the past lives on in the present. So many times in romances the "problem" that keeps the inten
Elyssa Patrick
I thought both stories were hard to access emotionally--I never was quite there with the heroes and heroines so I wasn't as invested in their HEA as I would have liked. There was too much distance between the characters and myself as a reader to fully commit to them.
Rebecca (everyday reader)
Two very fine Christmas stories of the various aspects of a second chance at love. In the first, a widow finds love again with a man who is a member of the merchant class. In the second, a once jilted beau meets up with and seduces his now widowed first love. In their time together he finds that he never stopped loving her. Great read!!
I wanted to give it 3-1/2 stars. It was good and the characters were interesting. I liked the second book (Christmas Beau) better than the first. Although I found the characters in A Christmas Bride entertaining to read about, I didn't feel strongly about them.
A perfect book for the holiday season. Strong characters in a Regency setting. Very descriptive writing with period detail. In A Christmas Bride, Edgar Downes promises his father to find a bride by Christmas. Instead of some lovely young lady, Edgar falls in love with the widow Helena, Lady Stapleton. Helena is hiding a secret from her past and Edgar must help her overcome her guilt before they can find happiness together. In Christmas Beau, Judith Easton, a young widow, is invited to a Christma ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 19, 2015 05:43PM  
  • A Regency Christmas I
  • A Regency Christmas V
  • Deck the Halls With Love (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2.5)
  • A Seduction at Christmas (Scandals and Seductions, #1)
  • It Happened One Season
  • Tis the Season to Be Sinful
  • Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight (The Duke's Daughters, #3) (Windham, #6)
  • Mischief and Mistletoe
  • The Bride Wore Pearls (Fraternitas Aureae Crucis, #3)
  • It Happened One Christmas (Hamilton Sisters, #3)
  • Twelfth Night Secrets
  • Brazen Angel (Brazen, #1)
  • Unladylike Pursuits
  • Marian's Christmas Wish
  • Regency Christmas Proposals
  • A Visit From Sir Nicholas (Effingtons, #9)
  • A Grosvenor Square Christmas
  • The Temptation of Your Touch (Burke Brothers, #2)
Mary Jenkins was born on 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high-school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curl ...more
More about Mary Balogh...

Other Books in the Series

Stapleton-Downes (7 books)
  • The Ideal Wife (Stapleton-Downes, #1)
  • A Precious Jewel (Stapleton-Downes, #2)
  • Dark Angel (Stapleton-Downes, #3)
  • Lord Carew's Bride (Stapleton-Downes, #4)
  • The Famous Heroine (Stapleton-Downes, #5)
  • The Plumed Bonnet (Stapleton-Downes, #6)
  • A Christmas Bride (Stapleton-Downes, #7)

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