Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date: 7th October 2014
Genre: Historical romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
To escape a scandal, Lady Joan Flynn flees her family's estate in the Scottish Highlands. She needs a husband by Christmas, or the holidays will ring in nothing but ruin.
Practical, ambitious mill owner Dante Hartwell offers to marry Joan, because a wellborn wife is his best chance of gaining access to aristocratic investors.
As Christmas—and trouble—draw nearer, Dante and Joan's marriage of convenience blossoms into unexpected intimacy, for true love often hides beneath the most unassuming holiday wrapping...
What a Lady Needs for Christmas by Grace Burrowes is #4 in her MacGregors series. However it can be easily read as a stand alone - although it may be a little difficult to get your mind around the minor characters. The focus of this book is Lady Joan, a member of the aristocracy, and Dante Hartwell, more of the working classes.
Lady Joan and Dante meet on a train and find eventually that they are meeting at the same place - Balfour. Dante has two children, Charlie and Phillip and his sister Margaret. As the Christmas season celebrations are prepared for, Dante and Joan have the opportunity to become more acquainted with each other and soon know many details about each other. Joan has a love of drawing and designing women's clothes and it is this that has run her into a scandal that she is fleeing from. Edward has managed to rob her of her designs while plying her with drinking and leaving her thinking that he has robbed her of her virginity as well.
Dante and Joan decide on marriage as the way to protect her from the scandal and plans are made for a quick marriage. Then comes a twist when Edward turns nasty and begins to blackmail Joan.
There a number of twists and turns in the plot which made for engaging reading, there was humour as Joan's family gave Dante a grilling, and then there were rabbits that made for some lightheartedness. There is also a sub plot involving Hector and Margaret - Hector being Dante's chief assistant.
This was a pleasant early Christmas story, it is a Victorian historical romance, so the changes of that time are appearing in the classes. The last part of the book was about family, and working together and being triumphant.