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A Christmas Bride / Christmas Beau (Stapleton-Downes #7)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  884 Ratings  ·  99 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 by Lila DiPasquaA Mackenzie Family Christmas by Jennifer AshleyA Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh
Historical Christmas/Winter Romance
9th out of 188 books — 152 voters
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLeanA Night Like This by Julia QuinnThief of Shadows by Elizabeth HoytThe Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer AshleyA Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
2012 Historical Romance Novels
143rd out of 264 books — 674 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,663)
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Nov 30, 2015 Lyuda rated it liked it
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.
Dec 04, 2012 heidi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, romance, reviewed
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
Dec 11, 2012 Janga rated it really liked it
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
Karla Brandenburg
Jan 14, 2013 Karla Brandenburg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sheila Melo
Dec 24, 2015 Sheila Melo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Christmas Romances Where Christmas is Integral to the Stories

These are two full length Regentcy romances where Christmas is important to the story. Sometimes there is only a tenuous relationship between the story and Christmas. Here, Christmas is important to the story. That is true especially in the second novel where a significant portion of the novel takes place at Christmas.

A CHRISTMAS BRIDE: Edgar Downes is thirty six and it is time for him to marry. He promised his father that he would hav
Amy (and her hounds)
Dec 30, 2012 Amy (and her hounds) rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 11, 2013 tacitus rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Cora's brother Edgar Downs and his Christmas Bride and Helena. All the other characters such as Lord Carew return with their children for a wonderful Christmas at Cora and Edgar's father's home.
Jan 05, 2016 Shoppermom rated it it was amazing
Two lovely tales from Mary Balogh, the second of which kept me up WAY past my bedtime last night. As Ms. Balogh explained in her introduction (working from memory here), Christmas itself was almost a character in these stories, causing the personalities to open their minds and hearts in ways they might not have done at other times. Of the two, I greatly preferred "Christmas Beau;" any story that Ms. Balogh writes is truly a pleasure to read, so even one that does not become one of my Balogh favo ...more
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
Dec 24, 2012 Karyn Gerrard rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 27, 2015 LibraryDanielle rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, 2015
while well written and good intentions, I couldn't enjoy these two very much. they're all about pain, and forgiveness, and how much we hurt each other, when what I was hoping for was a fun Christmas romance. these are not fun. expertely written and poignant, but not fun.
A double loser. Two if the worst Christmas stories I have ever read and two of the worst Mary Balogh stories I have ever read. However if you like books about totally self centered, self absorbed selfish women getting their undeserved HEA handed to them on a silver platter by handsome, wealthy compassionate but not very bright men ---read on.

And yes in the second story the hero does plan revenge on the tstl heroine but you know his heart isn't in it. The guy funds orphanages for heavens sake a
Melissa J. Katano
Feb 09, 2014 Melissa J. Katano rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
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
Jan 06, 2013 Éowyn rated it really liked it
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!
Aug 26, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 01, 2013 Amber rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, holiday, own-it
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.
Robin Rousu
Jan 01, 2015 Robin Rousu rated it it was ok
The bride felt more like intruding on someone's therapy session than reading a romance novel. The beau was okay. Not recommended.
Dec 11, 2012 June rated it really liked it
Shelves: mary-balogh
For a Christmas short story read these were a little darker than I thought they would be, but I enjoyed both short stories.
Jan 15, 2016 Wednesday rated it it was amazing
This is the first of Mary Balogh's books that I have read - (I know, where have I been!) I enjoyed these stories thoroughly and now want to read more from her. My favourite of the stories here was Christmas Beau. I really enjoyed the presence of Christmas in both its darkness and light, that wound it's way around the characters and all the activities. Max and Judith were both great characters and I loved the revenge aspect. I particularly liked the way it was resolved at the end - there was an o ...more
Dec 09, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
I really liked A Christmas Bride, I was more lukewarm about Christmas Beau.
Jan 06, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2016 Marielle rated it liked it
Shelves: a-e-book, c-christmas
First let me start out by saying I just recently - a few days to be exact - started reading Mary Balogh. I heard about her before, but for some reason never picked up one of her books. But this book was chosen book of the month at the facebook bookclub I'm part of, so I thought: well, let's give this author a try. But, since I had doubts, I didn't want to spent the 7 euro's on it if it was going to be a disapointment. So I started with some of her other Christmas stories (cheaper ones on Amazon) ...more
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
Dec 11, 2013 Lita Bouquard rated it it was ok
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
Jul 12, 2013 Janice Liedl rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
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
Jul 14, 2013 Carrie Olguin rated it liked it
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
Jul 25, 2013 Caitlin rated it liked it
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
Jul 29, 2016 Cherie rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas
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
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 19, 2015 05:43PM  
  • A Regency Christmas I
  • Deck the Halls With Love (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2.5)
  • It Happened One Christmas (Hamilton Sisters, #3)
  • A Regency Christmas V
  • Mischief and Mistletoe
  • It Happened One Season
  • A Seduction at Christmas (Scandals and Seductions, #1)
  • All I Want For Christmas is a Duke
  • Twelfth Night Secrets
  • Brazen Angel (Brazen, #1)
  • What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregors, #4)
  • The Lady Most Willing... (Lady Most..., #2)
  • At Your Pleasure
  • A Grosvenor Square Christmas
  • The Wayward One (The de Montforte Brothers, #5)
  • The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance
  • Unladylike Pursuits
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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