#Blogmas Review of The Heart Of Winter by Emma Hannigan

Published: 9th October 2014
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 448


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?


Thank you to Headline for kindly sending me a review copy.

Before I begin, please note that there is a book before The Heart Of Winter which you do have the option to read. This is technically classed as a follow-up/sequel, but I was blissfully unaware of that and according to the author, it’s okay to read as a standalone.

The opening chapter established a strong sense of the family. Lainey is a new mum, Joey may be getting promoted and Pippa drives far too fast. Huntersbrook has been granted permission to open to the public. As the narrative begins, each of the main characters have their own individual chapter in order to allow the reader to get to know them that bit better and I really liked that aspect.

Pippa is working non-stop; between her job and sorting out Huntersbrook, she’s not sure if she’s coming or going. We also meet Skye (girlfriend to Joey) within Pippa’s chapter and I hoped she would have her own chapter later on. All Pippa wants to do is have a lavish lifestyle rather than work and I did hope that the change to Huntersbrook would change that. As a new mother, Lainey is still learning the ropes but that doesn’t stop her from being overly eager to have more. Lainey is the one who argues with her Mum the most. I know that this can be a difficult subject for some readers to read, but I found it to be highly realistic as it’s normal. Joey is business orientated, but most of all, he wants to be as happy as his Father is. For me, Joey lacked personality and out of them all, I didn’t enjoy his chapters all that much.

I liked how in each of the early chapters, a minor character was introduced with some relationship to a member of the Craig family. What surprised me was the use of drugs in Pippa’s chapter. She seemed like a very free spirit, but for me, I didn’t like reading about it. I thought the pace of the book was superb.

Overall, I thought the Craig family were very realistic and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the in’s and out’s of  their lives. However, there was one important element missing for me and that was emotion. It was written on the pages but the characters told me how they felt, rather than show me.

Twitter: @MsEmmaHannigan
Website: www.emmahannigan.com