Chicklit Club
 

JENNY HALE

 

A Christmas to Remember (2014)

 

Thirty-something Carrie Blake has a successful career as a nanny, having spent most of her time with other families instead of building up her own. Because she wants nothing more than a family and children of her own, Carrie decides it is time to finally focus on her own wishes and has taken on her very last position with the Fletcher family in Virginia. Adam Fletcher is a workaholic and divorced father of two children, David and Olivia, whom he hardly has time for. It breaks Carrie's heart to see the children don't really have a relationship with their father and she decides to try her best to make Adam spend time with his kids. When Adam's family comes to stay for the holidays, the house is filled with joy and laughter. Carrie wants to make sure her last job is brought to a successful end; but will she be able to unite Adam and his children, and most importantly, will she be able to let them go and really focus on herself after this last job? Jenny Hale has once again delivered a wonderfully stunning Christmas story. It was incredibly easy to warm to Carrie; she's a great nanny who is fantastic with children, but as a person also down-to-earth and easy to relate to. Carrie has some anxiety issues and depends a lot on self-help books (each chapter starts with a quote from a self-help book), and the novel really focuses on Carrie and how she has to make some important life decisions. Next to Carrie, there's a great cast of secondary characters, most importantly the Fletcher family. Adam is an interesting and handsome leading man, his kids David and Olivia are really cute, and the other members of the family are just as fascinating and bring their own special something to the storyline. I personally really liked the plotline; I thought it was quite original, perfect to get into the holiday spirit, and not as predictable as you might expect. Jenny Hale's writing is really well-paced, easy to read, and warm, resulting in me not wanting to put the novel down but at the same time not wanting it to end either! This author clearly knows how to warm people's hearts for the holiday season. (JoH)


 

Love Me For Me (2014)

 

Libby Potter's life has turned belly-up. She has lost her perfect job in New York and her fiance Wade has finished with her and asked her to move out of their home. The very last thing she wants to do is return to her hometown with her tail between her legs. She and her mother Celia had always had ambition for a better life for her and she had been determined to move up in life, graduating from a prestigious university with a degree in accountancy. What's more she has never felt in her own skin in the small seaside town of White Stone, she wanted bigger, better in all ways. But when she returns to her cottage to arrange renovations ready to sell it, she meets up with her childhood sweetheart Pete Bennett and his father Pop. As she applies for interviews and re-models her cottage, she gradually integrates in her new community and by the time she has secured a job and moved into her new apartment back in New York she feels the tug of nostalgia and love for her roots. With Wade looking for a reunion, Libby has some major decisions to make. This is a heart-warming, well-written novel that examines what is really important in life. The characterisation is beautifully drawn with strong leading characters. I really enjoyed reading it. (JH)


 

Coming Home for Christmas (2013)

 

When Allie Richfield takes a job as house manager at the Ashford estate, she has no idea what to expect. At first she is overwhelmed by the owners of the estate, the wealthy and dysfunctional Marley family. Pippa, the 92-year-old grandmother, is full of wisdom and spunk; Robert, Allie's boss, comes across as cold and distant; Kip is a charming yet immature playboy, and Sloane is adjusting to life as a single mother of two following her divorce. The family is set to reunite for one last Christmas at Ashford before it is sold - and Allie is responsible for planning the festivities. As she develops relationships with each of the family members, Allie vows to help mend the rift that has caused the Marleys to keep each other at arms' length. However, in the process, she finds herself caught up in a love triangle that could potentially divide the family to an even greater extent. Coming Home for Christmas is a heartwarming tale centred on the importance of family, with a strong romantic component. With a flawed yet lovable cast of characters, this story captures the essence of the holiday season. (LB)

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