cover image What a Lady Needs for Christmas

What a Lady Needs for Christmas

Grace Burrowes. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4022-7881-5

Burrowes’s fourth Victorian-era MacGregor novel (following The MacGregor’s Lady) carefully builds up to a satisfying payoff. Lady Joan Flynn, fleeing an unpleasant encounter, is stranded at a train station; Dante Hartwell steps in to help her out. They liked each other well enough in the ballroom, so the idea of a mutually beneficial marriage forms as they head to a Scottish house party for the holidays. Dante has been looking for a highborn wife to elevate the prospects of his sister and children and give him access to potential investors for his textile mills. Joan needs a husband who understands her passion for clothing design and is willing to consider marrying a woman who might be pregnant. Their developing happiness is threatened when the scandal nipping at Joan’s heels escalates into blackmail that could ruin them both. There’s more cuddling than steamy sex, and some plot elements lack subtlety, but this is still a high-quality romance and a keeper for series fans. Agent: Steve Axelrod, Axelrod Literary Agency. (Oct.)