All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

on August 7, 2020

The Christmas Party
Karen Swan
Pan Macmillan
2019, 480p
Read via my local library/Borrow Box

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible – made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past?

This was the last Karen Swan available on my library’s eBook borrowing app that I hadn’t yet read – well actually there’s one more, but I own a print copy of that, so I’ll be reading that version. So after I borrowed this, I went and requested a bunch of others in print form, from my local library, which will be delivered to my home. I’m still enjoying this journey throughout this author’s entire backlist, and this one was close to one of my favourites. It’s also one of the few I’ve read that did not contain a historical component to the story, focusing purely on a present day story in Ireland.

Declan Lorne was the last remaining knight in Ireland, a title that would only pass to a male offspring. He had three daughters, so the title will die with him, however he can leave the vast estate divided up between his children. It’s a crumbling pile, in need of close to a million euros spent on it in order to really restore it to its former glory. To everyone’s surprise, the main house does not go to oldest daughter Ottie, who has managed the estate in recent years. She gets a small slice, with the home she lives in and the land to run her business, as does middle sister Pip. But it’s the youngest daughter Willow, who gets the castle. Willow who left for Dublin years ago and basically hasn’t been back. Everyone is stunned, especially Willow but she quickly reasons that her father assumed she’d be the only one who would do what needed to be done – sell the castle. Rid themselves of the albatross around their neck that it has become. And that is exactly what Willow decides to do, contacting someone who showed interest in the castle previously. And before it’s sold, it’s leased out to host a party.

All of the sisters seem to have secrets, so the title is quite apt. Willow fled the local area years ago and seemingly either doesn’t return, or returns very seldom. She isn’t there for her parent’s lavish wedding anniversary party and it’s obvious that it was something that drove her away however no one seems to have ever sat down and genuinely asked her what it was that made her flee. Ottie is incredibly busy trying to run the estate, trying to get it out of the hole it’s in. She has a glamping business and is also keeping a very significant secret from everyone, including her sisters. And Pip has dreams – at the moment she runs a horse riding business around the local area but her real dream is in breeding. However there’s no cash for that, even though Pip has a small plan she wants to put in place in order to kickstart this dream. A bad judgement leads her to risk her life for it and everything goes wrong.

There’s a distinct lack of communication that runs through this book. Willow inherits the castle and decides to sell it for numerous reasons but it’s the longest time before she even has a conversation with at least one of her sisters that confirms that she will be selling it in a matter of weeks. Ottie has never told her sisters her own big secret, which has been going on for years. Willow hides an even bigger secret that shook her very existence, which she’s never confronted the relevant people with and the truth of it will break her heart again. And the sisters’ mother, it seems like she has a lot of secrets too and is in such a fragile state that she’s barely capable of a conversation, nor is she able to understand precisely why Willow decides to sell the home. Her attitude about moving to the Dower House, which she was left in Declan’s will, got incredibly tiring after a while.

There’s a potential romance, for each of the sister’s and they’re all quite different. I liked all of them, particularly I think, Ottie’s. It was pretty obvious what was going on with Ottie in the beginning of the book and she seemed to be the only person who couldn’t see someone for how they truly were. She had to make that realisation herself though, had to have everything ripped away so that she would see the real person, not the person she thought existed. Ottie had a lot of issues with not being born a male, which honestly, were pretty pointless. It’s not something she could control and her dad learned that the value of a daughter was just the same as the value of a son, even if he couldn’t pass down the title to one of them. I do feel however, that it took a huge portion of the book to get to the titular party and at times it did feel like things were dragging. Also some of the romances could’ve used a bit more time, Pip’s especially I think. But apart from that, I did really enjoy this one and I loved the idea of the crumbling castle, the desperate situation and the fact that they needed a miracle.

8/10

Book #140 of 2020

 


2 responses to “Review: The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

  1. Marg says:

    How many is thatthisyear?

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