The Christmas Party by Karen Swan
At the time of reading A Christmas Party, the UK and parts of Europe are in a cold snap. We had plenty of snow and our night-time thermometers showed minus six degrees for a few nights. In Amsterdam, the canals froze over and people began to skate on the ice. Our news feeds were filled full of very professional looking speed skaters weaving their way under bridges, and a few sorry folk falling into the icy water. This happened to be the subject of the last Karen Swan novel I read.
This reminds me of one of the many reasons, I love reading. You end up finding random facts about the world! I would not have known about the canals freezing over, about the excitement of donning skates and skating up and down Amsterdam's canals, stopping for the occasional hot chocolate or waffle. And so I turned to another novel by Karen Swan, another Christmas book no less. (Do you notice how I am trying to sneak in yet another Christmas book under the radar so to speak?)
Willow returns to her family home after fleeing to Dublin three years earlier following an unknown incident. Her father Declan Lorne, the last remaining Knight in Ireland has passed away suddenly and with him this ancient title. The family estate is divided between Willow and her two Sisters, Ottie and Pip, but it is Willow who is left the castle and with it the Castle's debt.
Eldest sister, Ottie, is having an affair with a married man and is desperate for him to leave his wife and be with her. But when handsome American Ben, who is visiting the estate to compete in an ultra marathon, holds up a mirror to Ottie's life, she is forced to look at what she is doing. And wild, reckless Pip dreams of running a racing yard and will do anything to get it, even if it means putting her own life in danger. But support comes from her bitterest enemy Taigh, who is determined to forge a new friendship with Pip.
Will the Sisters be able to let go of the past and embrace a new future and will Willow end up selling Lorne Castle?
This is another enjoyable Christmas read from Karen Swan known for stunning locations and stories with a slight edge. This novel does not disappoint at all. Whilst Ireland may not be as far afield as say Norway or Canada, Karen Swan writes about the friendliness and fun of Ireland and its people. The novel is set over Christmas, and there are lots of fun Christmassy activities that take place including carolling at the local pub and a rather grand Christmas party.
The Sisters are great, different in their own way, yet all equally likeable. I also loved that their father Declan, even though he has passed away, is still very present in the novel, reaching out to help his daughters with their choices. It's very comforting and even though his choices seem a bit mad, for example with how he has divvied out the estate, all becomes clear in the end.
The action wraps up nicely, leaving you all aglow and full of the Christmas spirit. I very much enjoyed it.
This is another good addition to the Christmas books of Karen Swan, and would be lovely to read at Christmas (and not at the end of February like I did!). I'll be back on Thursday with an absolute humdinger of a novel and a five star read to boot!
Have a good day.