Friday, 10 October 2014

Book Review - The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannigan

The Heart of Winter
The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannigan
Released: 9th October 2014
Publisher: Headline Review
Pages: 439
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Order now from Amazon
Holly Craig's family have lived happily in Huntersbrook for generations but when times grow hard, even she must admit defeat and sell off their once-successful stables.
The three Craig children, Lainey, Joey and Pippa find themselves locked in a fight to keep their beloved Huntersbrook; dare they transform it into one of Ireland's most sought after countryside venues?
Renovation work is well underway when life rears its ugly head and everything stops in its tracks. The Craig family is forced to reassess what matters and although they no longer live at Huntersbrook, can the house work its magic even so ... and lead them into the light once more?
The Heart of Winter is set in the county house of Huntersbrook which has been owned by the Craig family for three generations, now Holly Craig and her children must pull together to save the family home they adore.  Although none of the children currently live at home they are drawn back to help transform the home they love into a house that can host upmarket country events. 
Lainey the eldest lives with husband Matt and young son Ely in a farmhouse on the edge of the estate she is longing to expand her family and her home to fulfil her dreams. Joey is on the verge of being made a partner at his Dublin accountancy firm, is he on the edge of great things or about to lose what is most important to him? Pippa the youngest has no intentions of settling down like her sister, she’s living life in the fast lane, living a very fine line between work and too much play, will she slow down before it’s too late?
The Heart of Winter is told mainly from the perspectives of the three Craig children in alternating chapters.  Initially I found it hard to get my head round who was who and how they fitted into the story, once I had it worked out the story flowed at a good pace and kept my interest. I found the characters not very likeable at the start. Lainey comes across very angry and bitter towards her mother because she feels she was unloved as a child, this made me feel sorry for Holly as she clearly loved all her children. Joey seems to be letting his new role in the firm go to his head and I didn’t like the way he kept breaking promises and becoming too busy for his family. At the beginning  I really struggled to find anything likeable in Pippa, she comes across as selfish, silly and easily led into things which are bad and I just wanted her to stand up for herself and be strong.
As the story progressed and unfortunate events start to happen the family did start to unite and come together and support each other and by the end I did enjoy the family spirit in the story and this was highlighted most in the family Christmas scenes. I really liked the way each of the children overcame their difficulties and were able to become in my opinion better, stronger more likeable characters. I also like the way that there were enough hints at the end of the book that I could see another book with these characters being written, I don’t know if that was intentional or not.
The Heart of Winter is essentially a family saga that will warm your heart and make you want to let your own family know you love them. With a Christmassy ending it is a good book to start your festive reading. I would give this book a rating of 4/5 as it took me awhile to relate to the characters.
Thank you to Headline Review and bookbrigr for my review copy.

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