Review: A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh
Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden has recently inherited his title, as well as a mountain of debt due to his spendthrift cousin. He's scrapping for every penny when a new proposition comes across his table: marry the daughter of a rich, self-made businessman and his debt will be forgiven. It's an offer he cannot refuse.
Through the whims and wishes of her dying father, Eleanor Transome finds herself engaged to marry the destitute Earl of Falloden, Randolph Pierce. She's never wanted to marry for money or title, she wants to marry for love. But her father desires to see her secure before his passing, and she will honor his wish.
They both wanted to marry for love. Instead, they're marrying a stranger for money.
This isn't a good start to this match.
Mary Balogh's A Christmas Promise is sweet book filled with the promises of Christmas magic. There is something to be said for arranged marriage tropes. It's the slow burn, the promise of eventual love, and “do they really like me” that keeps me coming back to this trope. As we all know in the romance world, there is a happily ever after on the horizon. We just have to get there.
Now, I won't lie, I really wanted to knock Eleanor and Randolph's heads together at the start of the book. Miscommunication, lack of affection and loyalty, and misunderstood intentions all work to keep these two apart at the start of the book. They fight and are stand-offish, being downright cold and indifferent to each other. Eleanor is as prickly as a hedgehog toward Randolph. And Randolph himself is about as warm as a snowman. There were so many times I wanted to shake them by the shoulders and yell, “TALK AND LISTEN TO EACH OTHER YOU NINNIES!!!” Sadly, they are fictional characters on the printed page and I could not.
It isn't until they get out of London, surrounded with people they trust, in which they start to soften towards each other. In honor of her father, Eleanor and Randolph agree to host a joyous Christmas celebration with Randolph's closest friends and Eleanor's boisterous family. It is between the gaiety of all these people that the ice between them starts to thaw.
The more he witnesses the genuine affection between his in-laws, Randolph comes to realize that he doesn't want to repeat the cold, distant upbringing of his youth. He comes to realize that Eleanor is the perfect Lady Falloden for him. She is warmth and sunshine and love. And he wants to win her affections for himself.
As for Eleanor, she realizes that she desires the steadfast strength of her husband. Her father was her greatest champion when he was alive and she begins to recognize that is a role Randolph will gladly fill for her.
However, before they get to that part, they need to overcome their doubt in each other, recognizing they love each other for who they are. Eleanor loves Randolph, not for his title but for himself. Randolph loves Eleanor, not for her money, but for herself. It's like the historical romance version of the song, Hey Leonardo.
And in between those moments, they have friends and family purposely shoving them under the mistletoe to help them get going. Really, what is family for if not that?
This book was a delight. Between the Christmas scenery and the meddling family members, there was a constant sense of wonder found on these pages. As this was my first Mary Balogh book, I know I'll need to find more.
Swoon Worthy Quotes
For the first time in a long while he had someone who was his. His own family. His own to bring him comfort and companionship. His own to cherish and to love. My God! He was holding a treasure in his arms.
How do I love you? With my body. With my heart. With my soul.
A love that cannot be bought or sold proves to be the greatest gift of all, in this heartwarming classic that demonstrates once again why New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh is among the most celebrated authors of historical romance.
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.
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I feel like I should slightly apologize for this review. I still stick by what I said, but I'm sick. I just started a new job. Both of these things are giving me a fuzzy brain.