No Christmas cheer here. Try Mary Balogh's re-release A CHRISTMAS PROMISE for that. No, this one by Ms Lejeune is more of a Regency house party romantic farce, which takes place over three Christmases, in 1814, 1815 and 1816. As for the romantic leads, we have role reversal for the H and h. She's the experienced, slightly jaded and seemingly rakish older woman. He's about 10 years younger, somewhat naive and innocent not only sexually (he's a virgin) but also in the ways of the ton, that superficial, self-centered, vapid upper class, of which our heroine Emma is a member as the Duchess of Warwick, widow of the late duke and mother of the adolescent present duke.
Our hero Nicholas has just recently come into an earldom after a life at sea as a naval officer. He's brought to the first Christmas gathering by his newly-met aunt Anne and uncle Hugh and their four marriage-hungry daughters. Poor young innocent Nicholas doesn't fit in at all well with the manipulative, greedy, self-centered relatives and friends gathered there. Struck by Emma's beauty, he falls in love with her in spite of the fact that she is manipulative herself, but not necessarily greedy nor self-centered. More to the point, she's focused on her children and trying to regain guardianship of them from uncle Hugh.
It's pointless to summarize the plot. Suffice it to say that we have lots of bedhopping, conniving, deception, manipulation, scheming, etc. by most all those gathered together. I didn't find myself liking anyone but Nicholas. Not even the duchess' young sons had admirable qualities. They came across as spoiled and arrogant. Perhaps heroine Emma shows a bit of a softer side at the end but you have to look hard at her to find something very admirable in her either.
All that said, however, it was an entertaining plot, what with all the above-mentioned conniving, deception, scheming and bedhopping and the book is well written. The problem is that you may find yourself entertained yet very annoyed at the same time by how horrid and useless all these people are.