Chrissie Manby is releasing a Proper Family novella for Christmas. The synopsis of Top Of The Naughty List says: "With just two weeks to go until Christmas, the menfolk of the Benson-Edwards household - stars of The Proper Family series - are both on Santa's legendary 'naughty list'. Eight-year-old Jack for the usual childish pranks. His thirty-nine-year-old father Mark for flirting with another woman at wife Ronnie's office party.
To get back into Santa's favours, Jack sets about a campaign of 'good deeds' ranging from taking his parents their breakfast in bed to doing his grandmother's dusting. But Mark has a harder task ahead of him. How can he convince Ronnie that her New Year's resolution shouldn't be 'get a divorce'? He decides he's prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice and put his precious record collection on eBay to raise the money to buy her a very special Christmas gift.
But Jack's good deeds increasingly end in disastrous results and Mark efforts at regaining Ronnie's trust look set to come to nothing. The night before Christmas, the festive spirit still hasn't arrived at the Benson-Edwards' house. Will fiction's favourite family make it to Boxing Day?"
A Proper Family Adventure is the third book in Chrissie Manby's series about the Benson family. The synopsis says: "The Benson family are used to eighty-six-year-old Granddad Bill repeating his catchphrase, 'I've won the blooming lottery!' but they are gobsmacked when he finally wins the actual lottery.
It's not a jackpot of millions, but even after giving each of his great-grandchildren a nice nest-egg each, there's enough left over for Bill to take everyone on a short Mediterranean cruise.
Chelsea Benson is taking her boyfriend Adam along for the trip, but they've hit another rough patch. Will they make it through the cruise without splitting up?
Also on the ship is Jane Thynne, who should have been on that cruise as a honeymooner. Instead, mourning the death of her fiance, she is there with her best friend. Will taking the cruise without Greg help Jane begin to heal from her devastating loss?
Meanwhile, Jack Benson and Adam's daughter Lily go head to head once again in the ship's passenger talent contest and Granddad Bill causes havoc in the on-board casino. It's full steam ahead for a proper family adventure . . ." A Proper Family Adventure is out in July 2015.
The Buchanan family have it all - a beautiful house, designer clothes and cars and a wealthy lifestyle. On the other hand, the Bensons are a typical, working family. Two families couldn't be further removed from one another but they're just about to find out that actually they're a lot closer than they think. Annabel Buchanan discovers that her real mother and father are Jacqui and Dave Benson, and she has two sisters, Ronnie and Chelsea. But if Annabel is horrified at being related to these people, she can't show it because, with daughter Izzy needing an urgent kidney transplant, she needs the Bensons more than she could ever admit. Whilst Jacqui is delighted to finally meet her long-lost daughter, Ronnie is less than pleased with this new Lady Muck.
First things first, I'd expected a much more Christmas-orientated novel than you actually get with this book, with only really the last few chapters touching on the festive season, and then albeit briefly, but that's merely an observation in case you were expecting a yuletide yarn. This book is much more about family, relationships and what matters in life. The dual storylines of the search for a kidney donor and the family reunion were really strong and made this book a much more impactful and substantial novel.
I enjoyed the dynamics of the families and the mixture of outlooks, which shows up the difficulty of the choices facing the various characters. However, I would have liked to have seen more of the developing relationship between Ronnie and Annabel and the transition from animosity to affection. The epilogue though was wonderful and the novel - the sequel to A Proper Family Holiday - hammers home the importance of good health and family. (JC)
A Proper Family Christmas is the sequel to Chrissie Manby's A Proper Family Holiday. The synopsis says: "Annabel Buchanan has it all. A privileged life. Pots of cash. Looks and manners born of generations of fabulous breeding. At least, that's what she likes people to think.
But Annabel's carefully created image is about to come crashing down. With her beloved daughter Izzy in need of a kidney transplant, Annabel is desperate to find a suitable donor. That's how she comes to admit that before Annabel Buchanan there was Daisy Benson, given up for adoption by her teenage mum and dad.
Hoping her biological family will be able to help, Annabel traces the Bensons and is horrified by the embarrassing, chavvy bunch she discovers. They're definitely not her kind of people. And she is equally baffling to them. But as Christmas approaches and Izzy's situation brings the Benson and the Buchanan families closer, will Annabel discover at last that blood is thicker than water?
Magazine staffer Chelsea has slept through her alarm so misses her plane to Lanzarote, in Spain, where she is joining her family to celebrate mother Jacqui's 60th birthday. Her sister Ronnie - a mother of two - is not impressed and thinks this is typical behaviour of her spoilt sister. When the family is plagued by illness, it's up to Chelsea to look after her young nephew Jack. This means she's unable to escape single dad Adam and his tyrant of a daughter, Lily. Meanwhile teenager Sophie is bored, Jacqui is nervous about breaking some news and granddad Bill is getting chatted up at the bar.
In this very amusing story, Manby has created some delightful characters that you can't wait to revisit again. This is the first book in a series about the Benson clan, and finishes on a cliffhanger that will lead into the next book, A Proper Family Christmas. It's definitely a proper sunny holiday read.
The tagline of A Proper Family Holiday, by Chrissie Manby is Keep Calm, It's Only a Week. The synopsis says: "Fashion journalist Chelsea Benson can't think of anything better than going on a week-long package holiday in Lanzarote with her entire family.
No, scratch that - she can't think of anything worse. Your small nephew wiping his sticky hands all over your (borrowed) designer dress, and pestering you to play for days on end . . . Your eighty-five-year-old granddad chatting up ladies at the hotel bar . . . Getting nothing but sarcastic comments from your older sister, who's always been the family favourite and hasn't spoken to you in two years . . .
And all this is before your parents drop their bombshell. It's certainly shaping up to be a holiday Chelsea and the rest of the Benson family will never, ever forget."