This number-one best seller from Patricia Scanlan is definitely one to warm the cockles and one that's very much for the ladies.
A book about the good and bad times of an Irish Family!
The story is centered around Shauna who is married to Greg Cassidy and they have a beautiful daughter called Chole, then you are introduced to Shauna's family and her in-laws and shown how their family relationships don't always run smoothly.
Firstly there is Shauna's older sister and best friend Carrie with her doting husband Dan and their wonderful children Davey, Olivia and further on in the story little Hannah who to Shauna are exactly how a family should be. Loving, kind and most important of all Happy! Next is her younger brother Bobby who much to his devout catholic father's dismay is gay and living in London with his partner Anton(who is a late edition to the book) then there is Shauna's father Noel, the religious devout church going Catholic, who is nothing but loving to his grandchildren but was not as caring to his two youngest children growing up. Shauna and Bobby were much too outgoing and non believing for his religious ideals, whereas his eldest daughter Shauna was exactly what he longed his youngest to be which was settled down with a wonderful husband, 3 great childen and was always there when he needed a help for one or other of his many made up health problems. With his beloved wife Anna dead Noel is left alone with only the company of his cat Twiskers and his kindly and also widowed next door Neighbour Mrs O'Neill.
As if that wasn't enough to be dealing with welcome to the family 'The Freeloaders' Greg's sister Della, her Fat husband Eddie and their two unruly children Kathryn and Ashley. To Shauna they are the In-Laws from hell, they turn up uninvited to Christmas, New Years and The couple's Leaving Party back to The Gulf, they eat and drink them out of house and house, don't move a finger and expect everything done for them. How long can Shauna put up with them before she finally blows up and tells her sister In Law exactly what she thinks of her freeloading ways?!
Shauna and Greg spend most of the year living in the Gulf for Greg's work with Shauna coming back to Ireland for Christmases and for the summer months when the weather is too hot for her to handle. Ireland is where she feels her heart is and she knows that daughter Chloe is much happier there with her cousins to play with than in Abu Dhabi where the weather is hot, she rarely sees her parents and spends all her time with her Phillapino nanny. Shauna loves her brother and sister and although she likes her luxury life in the Gulf her dream is for her and Greg to have another child and move back home to Ireland to provide a more stable life for their children. But Greg is not impressed, his work is his life, he barely sees Chloe as it is and he's happy with their life of luxury, Partying and entertaining. He could think of nothing worse than having another child around the place, screaming, crying and demanding their attention. The question is what will happen to Shauna and Greg's relationship when Shauna finds out a devastating secret about her husband courtesy of her conniving sister in law Della?!?! Will her father ever rekindle his broken relationship with his son? Will Shauna speak to her sister in law again? and will it all end happily ever after in a Christmas to remember? Or will it be a rerun of the nightmare Christmases of old times?!
I really enjoyed this book as the characters are really brought to life, you can imagine the tension between Della and Shauna, feel the love between Carrie and her husband Dan and imagine the happiness of the Children when they are together playing on the beach. It almost makes you want to move to Ireland and start your own dream happy family! If only life was like fiction eh?! Although maybe without the vile sister in laws?!
Publisher -Bantam Books
Pages - 686
Price - 6.99
This review has also been posted on Ciao under my ciao username emsi