Harriet Walcott, companion of Miss Isobel Paley (from The Secret Bluestocking), is the perfect example of a spinster: past the usual age of marriage and content to spend her days with her needlework and her painting, without a hope for love. Her fondness for her family, along with her ability to find joy in everything, endears her to most who know her.
On her annual sojourn with Isobel to Ballydendargan, Scotland, Harriet finds more than the peace and quiet of the countryside. She meets Miss Catherine Dalburn, governess to Lord Glencairn’s two children as well as the children themselves. The two women form a friendship and Harriet grows fond of the children.
While Isobel pursues her “secret bluestocking” interests and Lord Francis Wheaton arrives in Ballydendargan to continue his pursuit of Isobel’s heart, Harriet finally meets Lord Glencairn. A dashingly handsome man in his later years with twinkling blue eyes and beautiful white hair, he and Harriet become fast friends, united in their desire to see Isobel and Lord Francis finally admit their feelings for each other and marry.
Fate has a surprise in store for Harriet, who has long thought herself “on the shelf.” Are her feelings for Lord Glencairn more than friendship? Can he possibly feel the same for her, especially since he all but disappeared from polite society after his wife’s death ten years before?
The Yuletide Countess is a “co-quel” or “side-car” to The Secret Bluestocking/A Lady of Passion, in that the much of it happens in parallel with the other books. However, the point of view is strictly Harriet’s.