Maxwell is a master at combining poignancy and charming characters with humor, as well as sensuality with tenderness. In this tale of holiday wonder she is the miracle worker.

Abigail Montross has been jilted and is now to be married off to a man with 13 children, so when the dashing Andres, Baron de Vasconia, offers a chance to escape, she grabs it. The illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Andres has just acquired a country estate. But he must leave London immediately or forfeit his property to the husband of his latest lover. The rogue will do anything for his own land and Abigail has the money he needs. Though it’s to be a marriage of convenience, each is far too tempted by the other not to make the marriage a passionate union. They are perfectly matched and fit into their small community, until the man Abigail once loved threatens their happiness. Andres must put aside his pride, Abigail must trust him and her father must realize his little girl has grown up before the holiday can bring them together in peace. (AVON, Dec., 380 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin