22 December 2016

Book Review: All I Want for Christmas by Jenny Hale

"Christmas comes once a year . . . But true love comes once in a lifetime. 

Snowflakes are falling, there’s carol singing on every corner, and Leah Evans is preparing for a family Christmas at her grandmother’s majestic plantation house in Virginia. It won’t be the same now that her beloved Nan is gone, but when Leah discovers she has inherited the mansion, she knows she can give her daughter Sadie the childhood of her dreams. 

But there’s a catch. Leah must split the house with a man called David Forester. Leah hasn’t heard that name in a long time. Not since they were kids, when Davey was always there to catch her. 

Now David is all grown up. He’s gorgeous, successful, and certain of one thing: Leah should sell him her half of the house. 

They can’t agree, but as they share memories over wine by the log fire, Leah notices a fluttering in her stomach. And by the look in his eyes, he’s starting to feel it too. 

Will it be Leah or David who must give up their dreams? Or, with a little bit of Christmas magic, will they finally understand Nan’s advice to them both about living life without regrets … and take a chance on true love? "

Rating: 5/5

I absolutely adore Jenny Hale's novels, in particular her festive novels. She always captures everything that is Christmas for me, and I always love her characters too. So when I was offered the chance to review her latest Christmas book, All I Want for Christmas, I jumped at the chance. This book is the story of Leah and David, who end up jointly inheriting Leah's deceased grandmother's mansion. However, it seems that the pair have different ideas about the future of the house, and neither one of them is going to budge about what they want to do. Leah asks David if she and her daughter can share one more Christmas in the house of Leah's dreams and memories, but is there more to the pair's friendship than meets the eye?

I loved that this was set in a big, beautiful mansion, in the middle of Virginia at Christmastime. This is precisely the sort of thing I love to read about, and this definitely delivered on that for me! The house is beautifully written and described by Hale throughout the book, and I could see why Leah was desperate to move back in and raise her young daughter there. I loved reading about the memories she held of her and her grandmother there in years gone by, how she wanted to make a success of it on her own, and how passionate she was about the house remaining in her family.

However, David, or Davey as Leah remembers him, has other plans. He wants to buy her out and have the house to himself. Of course this is throwing a huge spanner in the works of Leah's plans and I have to admit I initially didn't like him for this, he seemed to be ruining everything for no reason. As the book progresses, it explains why David was entitled to the inheritance, and I was hopeful that he would be able to come to a compromise with Leah as I wanted her to have the house so much!

One of my favourite characters throughout the whole book was Leah's daughter Sadie. She is a perfectly written character, such a joy to read and I felt was a shining light for Leah, keeping her going through the tough times, and bringing to life everything that Christmas was about. I love how easily she befriended David too, keen to see the good man underneath his exterior, and it was so sweet to see how this in turn helped open Leah's eyes to the true David too. Christmas is ever present throughout the book too, with the decorating of the house, plenty of snow and a Christmas morning celebrated which is always lovely to read!

For me, this was a joy to read from start to finish, and I genuinely didn't want to stop reading once I had started. I was keen to see if and how Leah and David would sort out their differences, and how they would decide to divide up the house between them, if at all! The setting was beautiful, I loved all characters, even the supporting ones such as Leah's friends who pay a visit, and there's some sweet surprises in there too warm your heart. A perfect book to cuddle up with at Christmas!

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