19 December 2013

Book Review: Driving Home for Christmas by Emma Hannigan

"Christmas at Huntersbrook House is a family tradition and this year it's even more important as, with mounting debts and insufficient income from the livery yard, it looks like the Craig family might have to sell their beloved family home.

Pippa, Joey and Lainey are the three grown up Craig children who, caught up with their own lives in Dublin, are, as yet, unaware of the problems facing Huntersbrook.

Joey is starting to wonder if his controlling, fitness-mad girlfriend really is the one for him. Lainey, the family worrier, is doing her best to ignore her ex's recent engagement while also trying to look out for her sister Pippa whose frivolous lifestyle is about to catch up with her.

As the Christmas season approaches, the Craig family need to do some soul-searching and what better place than around the fire at Huntersbrook House.

One thing's for sure, this is a Christmas none of them will forget. But will it be their last at Huntersbrook or will they manage to save the family home?"

Rating: 5/5

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

I'll  be honest and say I haven't yet read anything by Irish author Emma Hannigan, although I have heard great things about her books from other book reviewers so far. When her new publishers Headline Review sent me a review copy of her new book Driving Home for Christmas, I was really excited to start it and finally find out about this new author. I have to mention the lovely cover as well, it's very festive looking and quite under-stated but very beautiful to look at. Now I have read the book, I'm so pleased I have finally read something by Emma Hannigan, and look forward to reading more!

The Craig children have always loved having Christmas at their family home, Huntersbrook. But they are completely unaware of the troubles that their parents are having with the house... so much so that this might be the final family Christmas at the house. There's the only son, Joey, the man who loves being home with family at Christmas more than anyone else, although he's not sure his current relationship with his fitness mad girlfriend is going the right way. Self-obsessed Pippa is worrying about the status of her finances this Christmas, and isn't sure if she can dig her way out of the hole she's gotten into. Finally, there's motorbike loving Lainey, feeling abandoned by her beloved grandmother and distanced from her mother, as well as still getting over her break-up. Will the Craig family be able to spend more than one more Christmas at their treasured family home?

I love a book that I can get lost in from the beginning, and this was one such book. There were quite a few characters to get my head around, and I did have to concentrate quite hard to work out who was who and get it straight in my head, but I had, it was an easy read. The story moves between all of the characters, with the 3 Craig children being the main ones that we follow, although we do see their parents, and some letters between the housekeeper and the estranged grandmother Maggie too. The stand out character for me was Pippa. I really disliked her at first, her attitude pretty much stank but as the book progressed, I warmed to her far more, and she is the character who changed the most in the book. Lainey blended into the background for me too much, she was a little bit forgettable although nice enough, but I couldn't find myself remembering her storylines over Pippa.

The setting of beautiful Huntersbrook house was perfect. It sounds like an idyllic country pad, especially when it's fully decorated for Christmas, and seems the perfect place for a big family Christmas. When I read about their financial troubles, I was hoping for a happy ending, and I found myself feeling very invested in the story overall because I genuinely cared for them. Family is a hugely important theme in the book, and I really liked how the Craig family come together in times of need and are very close. There are some sentimental moments, as well as some more light-hearted and funny moments, as well as a bit of a shock revelation towards the end that I hadn't seen coming. By the end, I felt that I really knew the Craig family, and was hopeful that they would all have a happy ending with Christmas fast approaching. Everything about this book was a joy to read, the writing was wonderful and really allowed me to get lost in the story, and I have to say I adored this festive treat of a novel. I can't wait to read more from Emma Hanngian, and I highly recommend you read this book this Christmas!

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