|The Heart of Winter - Emma Hannigan|
Christmas already seems an absolute age ago, since I'm back in the swing of things. Thankfully, I did manage to find time over the break to read my way through a decent pile of books. In the Heart of Winter was a heart-warming festive tale of a family who are trying to save the stately home they grew up in by turning to entrepreneurship and opening the house and grounds up for venue hire.
I enjoyed the gentle sibling rivalry between party-girl Pip, homebody Lainey and career-driven Joey. I got the impression that these characters had been built up previously and research shows that they appear in Hannigan's previous book Driving Home for Christmas. Whilst all focus seems to be on Lainey and her longstanding childhood issues, Pip begins to go off the rails and I was just hoping her family would notice in time.
Although I'd class this as one of those "warm and fluffy" reads, Hannigan managed to fit in so many deep and dark themes and yet somehow doesn't manage to make the book feel heavy, which I think shows immense skill. The descriptions of Huntersbrook House conjured up memories of my neighbour's house when I was growing up, which probably adds to my fondness of it, but I'd certainly recommend it as a great way to while away an afternoon.