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Reviewed by Tina Gibbons for Readers' Favorite
The Christmas Bargain: (A Victorian Holiday Romance) (Hardman Holidays Book 1) by Shanna Hatfield introduces the reader to Luke Granger, owner and manager of the Hardman bank. In the small 1890s Eastern Oregon town, Luke calls in a long overdue loan from a farmer who has no means of paying because he drinks away every penny. The farmer offers up his daughter, Philamena, to settle his debt. Luke is abhorred by the idea he could sell his flesh and blood, but reluctantly agrees to the deal to save the girl from being sold into prostitution. Philamena is both terrified and relieved to be sent away from her father's farm. Both she and Luke intend to make the best of the situation. With some convincing by the minister, Luke decides it's best that they marry, even if in name only.
The Christmas Bargain was a very sweet holiday story. The marriage between Luke and Philamena is sudden, but the courtship after the vows is slow and steady as the chemistry between them builds to the end of the book. Luke is a strong male lead; he's handsome, smart, and he falls unexpectedly and completely for his new bride. Philamena is inspirational, even after all she endured through her childhood at the hands of her father, she has a bright, caring spirit. The supporting characters in the story are detailed and add an extra layer to the lives of Luke and Philamena Granger. I enjoyed this book and would continue to read the rest in the series by Shanna Hatfield.