Monday, February 3, 2014

Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale

3.5 Star

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…

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I read this book as if it was in England- I know it wasn’t but either I’ve been reading too many UK based novels or the feel of this book was very English. Perhaps it was just the large country manor house that Allie winds up living in leading up to the holidays? It seemed very much like Downton Abbey and less rural USA (for the record I actually haven’t watched Downton Abbey yet so I am possibly making things up). However, this is neither here nor there really; the image a reader has in their minds is the prerogative of the reader. Right? Right.

Allie was a bit of a confusing character to me - all the way through I couldn’t quite decide if she was very together or very easily led. She seemed to be entirely in control of the relationship with her boss in many ways and yet you could tell by her internal doubts (when she wasn’t actually on the phone or emailing him) that she was just as confused about his intentions as she was. I warmed to her simply because she was very capable and skilled at fitting into this strange situation without much of a flutter. She made friends with all the family members and staff and was very likeable with all. I wasn’t too keen on her fling with Kip - it always seemed forced from both parties and it didn’t do a lot for me in terms of plot- it possibly could have been left out. And while I loved Allie’s interactions with the people she was working with I felt a bit lost when it came to her own family - there isn’t a lot of detail given, and again I think we might have had an equally good story without bringing her mum and sister into it at all.

However, I am still thinking about the family and their lack of communication, heartbreak of generations and aunt Pippa who was holding everything together - if a story lingers with you it’s probably been a good read. I won’t pretend that I was shocked by any of the end results but the route to getting there was an enjoyable read!

Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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