21 October 2013

Book Review: Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale

"Allie Richfield loves Christmas, so when she lands a job as House Manager for the amazing Ashford Estate—which includes organizing the Marley family festivities—she is in her element. With a budget bigger than her life savings and a team of staff, how hard can it be?

As one-by-one she meets the Marleys, she’s about to find out…

Allie’s new boss, Robert, might be gorgeous, but he’s also colder than the snow outside and refuses to come home for Christmas. Robert’s playboy brother, Kip, flirts with her relentlessly; and his sister, Sloane, arrives home with baggage—both the divorce-kind and the Louis Vuitton kind. Their ninety-two year old grandmother, Pippa, spends her day grumbling at everybody from her mobility scooter.

With Robert intending to sell Ashford, it’s the Marley’s last chance to create some happy memories in their family home—and Allie is determined to make it happen… even if it takes a little Christmas magic! With the festive spirit in full swing, she might even discover a little happiness of her own…"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Coming Home for Christmas as an eBook or a paperback now.

I received a copy of this book after I spotted it's gorgeous cover on Twitter when I was having a browse one evening. The publishers, Bookoture, offered me the chance to review, and given that I love anything festive, of course I jumped at the chance and said yes please! I started the book last week, and I have to say that although it's my first festive read of 2013, I think it's definitely going to remain one of my favourites, I got so lost in the story and it's made its way straight to my keepers shelf!

Allie loves Christmas, loves her family, and loves living in Virginia. When her sister manages to find her a new job as house manager at the Ashford estate, working for the Marley family, she decides it's worth a try until Christmas and soon moves in. Her boss is Robert, a single man who seems estranged from all his family due to his wanting to sell the estate as soon as possible. His grandmother Pippa, who grew up in the house, doesn't want to go to a home, and isn't speaking to her grandson. Robert's sister Sloane is dealing with her own marital woes, and her two young children, and the youngest sibling Kip is does nothing but flirt with Allie, leaving her feeling somewhat awkward in her new abode. Allie is determined to make the Marley's last Christmas at Ashford a good one, but once she realises what she is up against, is it one Christmas wish too far?

Right from the off, I loved this book. I'll be honest and say I was surprised it was set in America, for some reason I just assumed it was an English author and a novel set in England, but once I realised it, it didn't bother me at all. In fact, everything about this book was just brilliant. I loved the setting, the characters and the story was just lovely, I didn't even mind that I was pretty sure I knew how it was going to end. Allie was very likeable, determined to make it a nice Christmas for the Marley family, she had her heart in the right place, and you could see she genuinely liked the people she worked for. It wasn't her dream job, she really wants to be a teacher, but she works really hard and does her best by the rest of the family.

It was the Marley family who were also so brilliant to read about. Often, you read about rich families in books and they are dislikeable people, but this was not the case in Hale's book. I especially warmed to Sloane, a woman struggling to get over her recent divorce but wanting to protect her two young children. Kip was a bit of a playboy for me, but he had a fun side and tried to get Allie to come out of herself a bit more. Even Robert, who is distant and at times quite rude to Allie is likeable and you can see something is making him how he is. Grandmother Pippa is just wonderful, and you love each of them as you're reading, and you can see why Allie likes them all so much and is reluctant to let their last Christmas in their home be a bad one. The slow-building love story just brings everyone together perfectly, and while I was hoping for one resolution, I wasn't entirely it was going to get there, but by the time you end, it's certainly one worthy of a Hollywood movie, it's perfect.

The story is a sweet one, showing us that the most important thing in life is our family, and looking after them. Other things; spouses, money, come and go but family will always remain and this book cleverly shows us that. I loved the gentle pace of the story, and despite the fact it rarely moves out of the Ashford home, it didn't matter because I was so lost in the story and the idea of this glorious big house all decorated for Christmas, with big trees, lots of snow on the grounds outside and a roaring fireplace. It is so idyllic as you're reading, it's easy to become so absorbed in it, and I just could not put it down, even when my eyes were begging me to get some sleep! It's a wonderful Christmas story with a lot of warmth and heart, with a cast of characters you'll love and plenty of that festive feeling. I absolutely loved it and look forward to reading it again, just brilliant.


  1. This sounds sooooooooo good! Will have to get my hands on a copy!

  2. I agree with lipsyy, it sounds amazing! Can't wait to read it - I've left enough hints that I want this for my birthday this weekend so I hope I get to read it soon!

  3. The book was awesome! A perfect Christmas read!