Series: Hardman Holidays, #1
Published by Self Publish on 2012-11-13
Length: 296 pages
Reviewing eBook from My Book Shelf
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. Calling in a long overdue loan, Luke finds himself reluctantly accepting 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, Philamena 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, Philamena is prepared for the hard work ahead. What she isn’t prepared for is being forced to marry Luke as part of this crazy Christmas bargain.
The Christmas Bargain by Shanna Hatfield is a refreshing historical romance set in a small western town revolving around the town’s banker and the daughter of the town drunk. When the farmer says he plans to sell his daughter to the local whore house to pay his bank debt, Luke Granger steps in, taking the man’s daughter in payment for his debt. But what Luke gets is more than just someone to keep his house, he finds his best friend and life partner in the meek Philamena Booth.
I really enjoyed this story! The author brings to life the small town of Hardman and all its occupants, not just the two main characters. We get a sense of community with every interaction. I loved this! The author’s use of limited 3rd person threw me a bit though. It’s been a while since I read a book told from everyone’s perspective. However by the 2nd or 3rd chapter I was used to it and Shanna Hatfield does a wonderful job of giving each character their own voice. It is easy to distinguish who’s POV you are in when you are reading it.
The book starts with Luke Granger, the town’s banker and self-declared bachelor for life. He’s kind and generous without realizing, two qualities that you don’t find very often. When he saves Philamena from the whore house, he really doesn’t know what to do with her. He has no intention of ever marrying, yet she can’t live in his large home as his staff without ruining her reputation. He reluctantly agrees to his friend’s proposal: marry her and if by Christmas you aren’t in love, annul it. Real romantic, right? Luke decides this is the right approach and follows through with every intention of annulling it once Philamena pays off her father’s debt. What he doesn’t anticipate though is Philamena.
Philamena is (as the synopsis says) both mortified and relieved to be sold to the town banker. She’s been trapped on that farm since her mother died, not allowed to leave and subject to her drunk father’s whims, whether that be beating her or starving her. She’s led a rough life and it shows in her posture, her reactions to others, and her own thoughts. Philamena is timid, meek, and so thankful for Luke. When the proposal of marriage is announced, she knows it won’t be a real marriage and she’s prepared to do all that he asks of her to the best of her ability. She’s a hard worker, but her thoughtfulness towards Luke is wholly unexpected by him and as she slowly comes out of her shell, he finds himself falling in love with her.
Obviously the story revolves around whether the two will fall in love with each other, and while it was predictable and at times a bit drawn out, I really enjoyed the book! Philamena and Luke are great characters, easy to fall in love with, and maybe even wish to have yourself. If you enjoy historical romance, and bonus this one is clean, than I highly suggest you check out this book.