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A Christmas Bride (Stapleton-Downes, #7)
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A Christmas Bride (Stapleton-Downes #7)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  536 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A wealthy man makes a promise to his aging father that he will wed a titled and proper young lady by Christmas, but it is a beautiful widow who ends up capturing his undivided attention. Caught up in an irresistible passion and scandalous liaison, the two believe they are destined to remain apart. This is the season, however, when miracles do occur.
Paperback, Signet Regency Romance, AE 9144, 224 pages
Published November 1st 1997 by Signet
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Lord Carew's Bride by Mary BaloghReforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla    KellyThe Temporary Wife by Mary BaloghMrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla    KellyThe Wedding Journey by Carla    Kelly
Traditional Regency
46th out of 474 books — 200 voters
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa KleypasChristmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa KleypasA Virgin River Christmas by Robyn CarrBy Proxy by Katy RegnerySimply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
Best Seasonal Romance {Christmas, Winter}
118th out of 627 books — 760 voters

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Community Reviews

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4.5 stars

It’s stories like this one, in which the author takes a big risk with one of her principal characters, which serves to remind me just why it is that Mary Balogh became such a renowned author of historical romances and has remained at the top of the tree for so many years.

Because she’s been writing for so long, it’s sometimes easy to forget that her stories often feature characters and plotlines that were – and are still – unusual in the genre. A Christmas Bride, looks, from the old Sign
Please do not bother to read this book unless you've read "A Precious Jewel". Even then, the only reason that I'd recommend reading this book are for readers like me that loved loved loved "A Precious Jewel" and want to see what happens next in the lives of Pris and Gerald.

A Christmas Bride isn't really all that good. It features Gerald's stepmother from the book "A Precious Jewel" and casts her as the heroine of this book. She isn't very nice. She is a tortured woman who believes herself unwor
Honestly, I had considered not reading this historical romance. It was the last story in the Stapleton-Downes series but it contained the crusty Edgar Downes, Cora's brother, from THE FAMOUS HEROINE. And added to the mix was Lady Helena Stapleton, the suggestive and precocious step-mother from A PRECIOUS JEWEL. As someone else mentioned, at minimum, you should have read and enjoyed the above stories before attempting ACB. Of course, it would help to read the entire series because a bumper-crop o ...more
Helena is a beautiful, bitter widow, when she spies Edgar Downes across a crowded Society drawing room. One night of passion later, they go their separate ways--Helena to wallow in her guilt, and Edgar to find a ton-ish wife. Except that one night refuses to remain in the past... (Pregnancy; I'm talking about babies.) There's all the markings of a true Christmas story at hand: self-loathing! snow-fights! an entire FLEET OF CHILDREN!

1. Another I'm glad to have read, even if the heroine initially
It started so promisingly. I really enjoyed the first encounter between Edgar and Helena, in which the attraction was obvious. I really liked Edgar's character, first his critical views on the marriage mart and the sanity of getting himself a bride child. His wry sense oh humour delighted me always. But oh, what a mistake did he do marrying an embittered and aggressive shrew. The more I saw her, the less I wanted them to end up together. I even thought for once that in her great years, 36-37 yea ...more
Ana T.
Is there anything better than to read one of Balogh's Christmas romances at Christmas time? I think not and this year the first one I read was A Christmas Bride

Lady Helena Stapleton was introduced in a previous book, A Precious Jewel, where she was the villain. Even if you haven't read that book Helena is not exactly a nice character when this story starts. She is cynical, bitter and doesn't trust anyone. She also doesn't seem to feel good about who she is.

Edgar Downes is the heir of a merchan
Everyone is entitled to a clunker and this is one of Mary Balogh's. Sorry to say I don't really like the main characters especially Helena, the heroine. Distasteful family secrets and an unlikeable woman that we're supposed to cheer for.

To her credit, Balogh brings back characters from earlier books. Edgar, the "cit" in need of a noble wife is Cora's brother from the Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride/Famous Heroine/Plumed Bonnet series and we get to find out how all those couples plus children are
Pedophile heroine! Enough said...

h of this one is stepmother to H from Precious Jewel (which wasn't all that great, but still, a solid 3* for me). I don't remember if Gerald was 18 or not, but I don't really care. Seducing/raping her stepson, no matter how 'unhappy' she was, is a big big turn off for me. What if the genders were reversed, and the H had seduced/raped his stepdaughter! It's the same level of betrayal of trust. So, all that horror the h felt for herself? She should! and she shouldn
I normally don't like Christmas-themed books. But this one is just wonderful. It ties in a lot of characters from previous books (most of which I haven't read). I'd recommend reading A Precious Jewel before this one (it was just reprinted) as two of the characters that appear in this one are significant. (But I didn't and it wasn't a problem, just made me wonder if there was a story about those two.) This book is pretty short, but the characters are so unusual and sharply drawn, their dialog is ...more
Book 7 in the Stapleton-Downes series

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 when we finally find out
Babette Brown
Che dire? Un rosa storico ogni tanto (poco) ci vuole. E Mary Balogh è una delle mie scrittrici preferite.
Questa volta, però, c’è una sorpresa, anzi ce ne sono due. Il protagonista maschile non è il solito aristocratico (ricchissimo, in bolletta, sciupafemmine, solitario, rabbioso, rassicurante… ho dimenticato qualcosa?), bensì un borghese di bell’aspetto e solido patrimonio. Ovviamente, è alla ricerca di una moglie e, avendo già compiuto il trentaseiesimo anno di età, è non poco sconcertato dall
I did not think I would like this book; it started out with them immediately getting into bed together and I thought give me some plot please! But then she pulled through with a great plot although it continued to be hot! Our heroine has issues she just cannot get over, but our hero is up to the task (it is another problem for his businessman's brain) and they both come through with flying colors (as expected!) So I really enjoyed it and gave it 4 1/2 stars.
Amarilli Settantatre

Settimo e appagante capitolo di una bellissima serie di Mary Balogh (DARK ANGEL) che abbiamo recensito negli ultimi mesi qui sul Blog, nonché ideale prosecuzione e conclusione delle vicende specifiche del meraviglioso capitolo UN GIOIELLO RARO.

Non posso che ribadire che raramente sono rimasta delusa da questa scrittrice. La sua capacità di intrecciare vite, disegnare destini, far entrare in sintonia con i suoi protagonisti: ogni volta è una conferma e una sorpresa (
ZaBeth  Marsh
It’s the holiday season so it seemed appropriate to read a Christmas romance novel. A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh is a wonderful Austen-like book packed with inner turmoil and passionate romance. It is a romance novel in the purest sense. There is no mystery to unwind or vampires to fight. It is simply a story about two people falling in love. And yet to use the word “simply” seems to undervalue this novel. It is filled with strong personalities and opinions and involves the complex workings ...more
Sasha Martinez
Last year, I started reading Mary Balogh reissues, which promptly hooked me. It was a welcome change of pace, romance novels where prose, for one, mattered more than the hijinks the hero and the heroine commit themselves to on the trail to True Love. [I keep saying it, and I’ll do so again: Balogh’s prose is graceful.] It’s almost quaint, these renderings of the love story; and though they were rarely intense reading for me, they could aspire for the quietly romantic at their best moments. The a ...more
You know how sometimes in romances you have the bored, wealthy, mocking, cynical, contemptuous, very haughty aristocrat? Well that person is alive and well in this book. Only this time it isn't the hero. It is the heroine.

Balogh takes the character signifiers that she normally bestows on many of her heroes and gives them to Helena, Lady Stapleton, her heroine. Helena was a bit of a beeyotch and I totally dug her!

Our hero is Edgar Downes, the wealthy older brother (and Cit) of Cora the heroine f
Jane Night
Full review available on my blog:
I really liked that Edgar was wealthy but untitled. It made him a much more interesting character. It also gave him slightly different values in the story than the members of the ton. His family was also really fun to read. Especially his father.

I liked Helena a little less. She kept making herself unhappy because she had done something very bad thirteen years before and believed she should suffer for it. The bad thing she
Amanda Osborne
This was a strange book for me because the heroine of the book was the villain in a previous book I read. It was uncomfortable at first to see this characters, who truly had done a terrible thing, be the center focus of the story. You think she is completely un-redeemable as a person, but by the end I really loved Helena and enjoyed the development of her as a person throughout the story. Mary Balogh has a great talent of taking characters that you wouldn't expect to see in a historical romance ...more
I have reread these books in order, and "Christmas Bride" is the culmination of the series, all the stories all tied up in a bow, not just the ideal wife series, but other books also. But it is really important to read "Precious Jewel" because the "Heroine" in "Bride" was the "Villian" in "Jewel" This is a story of redemption, class lines, love. A very successful lawyer, 36 year old Edgar, the brother of Cora from a previous book, meets and falls for a 36 year old aristocrat as he is bride hunti ...more
D.W. Nichols
No es de las mejores novelas de esta autora, pero aún así es entretenida.
Helena is perhaps the least lovable of Mary Balogh's heroines. She is bitter, sharp-tongued, and sometimes just plain nasty. And yet - there are reasons for this, and underneath she is a very different person. The question is whether she will allow herself to change. Circumstances force her into a path not of her choosing, and it is touch and go whether her hero can rescue her from herself. Luckily his personality is as strong as her own.
Although extremely well-written, the main characters didn't resonate with me and I kept getting the feeling that many of the minor characters were from other books that I had either read and forgotten or hadn't read yet, which was jarring. I also had the feeling that Lady Helena may have had a role in other books as the villainess and now Ms. Balogh was trying to explain her and turn her into a heroine, which just didn't quite work.
Charming, lovely story, with some serious angst to be resolved in the telling of it.

The hero in this one is the brother of the impulsive merchant's daughter of The Famous Heroine, and the heroine is the wicked stepmother of the hero in one of Balogh's other books. One I can't recall the title of at the moment. I like that some of the subordinate angst in those other stories is resolved here. It's a very good read.
another re-read book by balogh which is a continuation of the cast of characters introduced in dark angel, lord carew's bride, the famous heroine, and the plumed bonnet. the heroine was scarred by past actions of hers which she thought made it impossible for her to love or be loved. the hero was a true hero--selfless, understanding, masterful when he needed to be--i'd like to find someone like him in my xmas stocking!
Dichotomy Girl
Sappy Christmas Romance 2013 - #4 (and final!)

This was a bit of a change after the Amish trilogy. And I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. For the record. Saying that you are "in love" with someone, but don't love them or even like them, is completely moronic, and frankly not even possible.
Mary Lauer
The first time I had read this book, I had not read A Precious Jewel yet. I highly recommend reading that so you see Gerald's point of view. Helena is not very likable in this book, but I am not sure Edgar is either at first. She somehow is a strong counter to him, and he helps her to heal a self-inflicted wound she has been carrying for most of her adult life. Very satisfying, if not heart warming.
Love this book: Edgar is an unstoppably loving hero and Helena doesn't stand a chance :) So thrilled to see Priss and Gerald again. Consider this book to be one long epilogue of sorts!

Entertaining Christmas Romance, a bit of a formula but what keeps it fresh is the main characters. She an complex and passionate woman during an era where meek and mild was all the rage.
Tipico romanzo natalizio ricco di buoni sentimenti, ma come sempre la Balogh riesce a creare un romanzo gradevole e una bella conclusione per la serie.
A rather unlikable heroine and her reason for resistance a little contrived. Not Mary Balogh's best work.
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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)
Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga, #6) Slightly Married (Bedwyn Saga, #1) A Summer to Remember (Bedwyn Prequels, #2) First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1) Slightly Scandalous (Bedwyn Saga, #3)

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