Title: The Christmas Bargain
Series: Hardman Holidays, Book 1
Author: Shanna Hatfield
Release Date: November 18, 2013
Genre: Historical, Western, Holiday, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Shanna Hatfield
Luke Granger is about to get more than he bargained for…
As owner and manager of the Hardman bank, Luke Granger is a man of responsibility and integrity in the small 1890s Eastern Oregon town. When he calls in a long overdue loan, Luke reluctantly accepts a bargain in lieu of payment from the shiftless farmer who barters his daughter to settle his debt.
Philamena Booth is both mortified and relieved when her father sends her off with the banker as payment of his debt. Held captive on the farm by her father since the death of her mother more than a decade earlier, she is grateful to leave. If only it had been someone other than the handsome and charismatic Luke Granger riding in to rescue her. Ready to uphold her end of the bargain as Luke’s cook and housekeeper, she isn’t prepared to marry Luke as part of a crazy Christmas bargain.
Other books in this series
I don't know if bartering away a woman's life was normal during this time period but I hated that Philamena was thought so little of by her own father that he offered her as payment for his debt. I mean, to be honest, she was probably worth far more than what he owed. Or maybe not. I don't know. I just know that for all the horrible things she experienced at her father's hand after her mother's death, life had to get better unless Luke was a total bastard.
Thank God he isn't. That would've sucked. Royally.
Marriage to Luke is better than Philamena believes it would be. At first, she fulfills the duties of a housekeeper in Luke's enormous house while he, in return, provides and protects her. Their relationship slips from acquaintances to friends to lovers, in that order. I know their marriage is one of convenience and that they didn't have to fall in love but I am glad they did. I know, I know. That's kind of the point of the story, right? Still, it was beautiful to watch happen. The warmth, light, and laughter Philamena brings into Luke's life (and his house) is consuming until Luke can't imagine his life without her in it.
This is a sweet story, in every sense of the word. While I admittedly read more explicit material, I can honestly say this is what my soul's been craving. I've felt...lost lately even with my ginormous TBR list and equally ginormous e-library at my fingertips. That isn't to say everything I've been reading is horrible, that I didn't enjoy those books, that I was left unfulfilled. They weren't, I did, and I wasn't. But every now and then I need something sweet, gentle, and warm to scatter the darkness I know I'm surrounded by.
Ms. Hatfield is new to me. The gentleness of this story reminded me of Harlequin novels I'd read years ago when I first discovered the romance genre. It's what I needed and I'm happy I was given the chance to read it.
A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor.
In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.