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

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  987 Ratings  ·  112 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
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ebook, 528 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Dell (first published January 1st 2012)
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Lyuda
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.
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heidi
Dec 03, 2012 heidi rated it it was ok
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
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Janga
Dec 11, 2012 Janga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Karla Brandenburg
Jan 08, 2013 Karla Brandenburg rated it really liked it
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
tacitus
Sep 08, 2013 tacitus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 people...it 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.
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
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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 21, 2012 Karyn Gerrard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
LibraryDanielle
Dec 29, 2013 LibraryDanielle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
12/29/13
Éowyn
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!
Suzanne
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.
Sarah
Aug 26, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
June
Dec 11, 2012 June rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Amber
Nov 28, 2012 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
The bride felt more like intruding on someone's therapy session than reading a romance novel. The beau was okay. Not recommended.
Nancy
Dec 07, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked A Christmas Bride, I was more lukewarm about Christmas Beau.
Jackie
Jan 06, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 for CHRISTMAS BRIDE, 3 for CHRISTMAS BEAU
Barb in Maryland
Nov 15, 2016 Barb in Maryland rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Well, I threw in the towel. I slogged through 50+ pages of 'A Christmas Bride' and another 50+ pages of 'Christmas Beau' and found no delight. I suspect it is me, not the author.
Ms Balogh has so many devoted fans and so many of her books are considered romance classics--I keep trying and trying, but the magic, the good feelings totally elude me.
I think it is finally time to admit that I should say farewell to Ms Balogh. She has so many fans, she won't miss me.
Mo
If you think hate is a very exciting emotion, then you will like these 2 novels. I don't.

A very generous 3 stars.
etherealfire
Nov 28, 2016 etherealfire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Library Kindle e-book
Minna
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
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Megan
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
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Erin
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
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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
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Kathy
Dec 21, 2016 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two Christmas stories

I wasn't certain if I would enjoy this book, particularly as Helena, the heroine of Christmas Bride was so very unlikable. She was bitter, conniving, and manipulatve. Fortunately, it wasn't bone deep and I developed an understanding of her. In the second story, Judith also generated some negative feelings. I don't particulary like female protagonists who are selfish and cruel. In the end I can say that the conclusions of each story left me with that feeling of hope and well-
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Janice Liedl
Jul 09, 2013 Janice Liedl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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LuzAdri
These two stories were not to my liking. The protagonists of both stories were not my favorite. I skimmed some pages.
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
Heather
Dec 17, 2016 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mary Balogh does not disappoint. Perfect book for the Christmas season.
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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
9759
Mary Jenkins was born in 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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