Monday, December 01, 2014

Christmas at "Downton"

Greetings! I'm Jo Beverley, and I'm wondering if you look forward to the Downton Abbey Christmas special for the grand rooms lit by roaring fires, the holly and the ivy, and a berry-loaded mistletoe bough. Perhaps you'd like to read some romances set at Christmas in stately homes during the Regency, with love and a happy ending to add to the spice.

Not all these books are easily available in print in the UK, but they are all available as e-books. I've given Amazon links, but of course they are available elsewhere.

Perhaps you can recommend other romances set at Christmas in a stately home. Please do. :) 

I'll start with one of my own.

Genova Smith is traveling to celebrate Christmas at Rothgar Abbey, as companion to two of the Marquess of Rothgar's elderly great-aunts. However, another of the ladies' nephews appoints himself their escort -- the Marquess of Ashart, life-long enemy of Rothgar and his family, hell-bent on trouble. Christmas is celebrated with grandeur at the Abbey, but can even the joy of the special season bring and end to the feud? And will Genova's heart be broken along the way?

Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, is as notorious at the gaming tables as he is in the ton’s gossip rags. But this might be one wager he cannot win: he must persuade proper Louisa Oliver, a shy bluestocking, to attend his raucous Christmas house party at Clifton Hall in SurreyIntrigued by his invitation, Louisa looks upon the house party as a chance to have a few adventures—and browse through Clifton Hall’s grand library, too. Fascinated by her host’s hidden depths, she soon persuades him into the library, where they discover an unexpected passion. When long-hidden secrets are uncovered, will Louisa and Xavier’s new found bond prove strong enough to save them both, or will they begin the new year with ruin?  

The Blanchard Secret by Nicola Cornick
Miss Sarah Sheridan lives a quiet life in Bath as companion to her cousin. Then two events upset her calm existence. The first is the delivery of a mysterious letter from her deceased brother, hinting at a mystery only Sarah can solve. The second is the arrival in Bath of Guy, Viscount Renshaw, a shocking rake who seems very attracted to Sarah. Together Sarah and Guy must unravel a secret that takes them to the splendour of Blanchland Hall for a Christmas season that Sarah will never forget.  

Falling in love at first sight—with another man’s wife—was hell for Phillip Houghton. Never mind that he knew Julianna’s husband to be scoundrel, the ring on her finger meant she was off limits. Three years later, he has a second chance with an invitation to spend Christmas at Brookside. Julianna is content with her life as a widow with two small children. The scars of her husband’s abuse feed her general distrust of men. Yet, Phillip makes her painfully aware of how lonely her life truly is. As Phillip wins over her parents and children, she finds herself drawn to him. Dare she trust her mind—and her heart?

Young widow Lady Lenora Fitzallan receives an unexpected invitation that might change her life but will ultimately mean a choice between two men. Accompanied by her elderly godmother, Lady Pettigrew, Lenora sets out to face the man she never thought to see again. At Marlings, his Scottish country house and estate, Laird Edward Montgomery awaits the arrival of the woman he should have married seventeen years before, but has he left it too late once more? Meanwhile his young niece and ward, Annabelle, begins to fall in love in between getting into scrapes. But is it with the right man? As they all prepare for the Masquerade Ball on the Winter Solstice in the lead up to Christmas, new arrivals cause uncertainty and reveal past secrets. But who will win Lenora’s love in the end?

When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl's granddaughter—Miss Phoebe Linville, a Quaker from America with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn't long before she is challenging his rules--and surprising him in and out of bed. Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas's stubbornness even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the earl of Merritt what real love is all about.

Plain, bookish Elinor Bancroft is traveling with her aunt and young cousins to spend the holidays with her father, when a carriage mishap leaves the party stranded at the remote manor of Lord Martin Thorne. Also known as “the Black Baron,” he has no patience for invalids or spoiled heiresses, and children are usually terrified of him. But he gives them refuge during the snowstorm, and to keep the children out of his way Elinor helps them turn the sparse manor into a warm holiday haven for Christmas.

Without dowries and the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, suddenly it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them. The man of Lucy Barlow’s dreams, however, has always been Andrew Livingston, her best friend's brother, but he's always treated her like a child. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality…and the eligible viscount. Andrew has returned from the Peninsula with emotional and physical scars. Surprisingly, it's his sister's friend “Little Lucy” who shows him the way out of his melancholy. As the two families work together to decorate Livingston Hall for Christmas, he can't help noticing that Lucy's grown up into a lovely young woman. With an eligible viscount courting her, however, he'll need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

David Worthington, Duke of Penrose dislikes Miss Meredith Chambers, the American governess who accompanied his new wards to his Devonshire estate. He especially detests his attraction to the insufferable woman, and is anxious for her replacement to arrive. Merry is thrilled when the Dowager Duchess Penrose hires her as a companion to stay at the manor and help with the Christmas festivities. Now she can stay with her beloved charges. But can she ignore how her heart thumps when the pompous duke gets close?

Christmas Angel by Patricia Rice
Living in the squire’s house next to abandoned Sedgwick Hall, Marian Chadwick has no intention of deserting the village as the earl had done. Taking care of family and helping a once prosperous town survive is all she has in mind after the tragic death of her fiance. Then a stranger from America visits, wearing a heart as heavy as hers. Maybe this will be the Christmas they both need - with a gift that lasts forever.

I hope you enjoy this selection of stories. Don't forget, you can always read a free sample at Amazon or other e-book retailers before you buy. And please do share some other titles.

Happy December!



Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for including my book, Jo - I'm in great company and enjoying all the blurbs featured here!

Unknown said...

Your covers are all so beautiful it makes me wish I wrote historicals too!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for including my story, Jo! I really appreciate it!

Jean C. Gordon said...

I love Christmas (and other holiday stories), and the only ones here I've read are Jo's and Patricia's. I guess I have some book shopping to do this weekend.

Brenda Hiatt said...

What a lovely crop of seasonal books! Thanks, Jo! :)

ali cunliffe said...

I used to read historicals by the bucket. Looks as though I have some good stuff in store when I pick up that habit again.