BOOK CLUB: The Christmas Party

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By Karen Swan

ISBN: 978-1529006056
RRP:  $29.99
Publisher: Pan Macmillan


When Declan Lorne, who happens to be the Last Knight of Ireland, passes away it means his youngest daughter Willow is dragged back to her ancestral home and her family.  She left this wonderful yet run down 700 plus-year-old Castle and her family behind her three years before leaving her sisters wondering why.  Willow has felt like the black sheep and felt as though she just didn’t belong. When she fled the Castle for Dublin she swore she would never return.

When her Father’s Will is read everyone is in shock to discover that the elder Sisters, Ottie and Pip are each given properties on the Estate, and their Mother is given the dark and dingy Dower house.  Willow is left the Castle which makes no sense to her and she feels it’s a punishment.  Why would her Father leave it to her and not the Eldest child?  Her father had always made it well known that having three daughters was a disappointment, it meant he lacked that son to hand the title of Knight down to, and therefore the title would die with him.

Willow was his third and last disappointment.  Was this his way of punishing her or was it a punishment for her leaving?  The Castle is very run down and sadly the funds are not there to repair it. They aren’t able to keep the Castle either, so Willow takes the sensible option to sell. This causes great upset and widens the rift between her and her sisters and for that matter her mother.  Willow knows that the clock is ticking and she has no time to waste. 

She needs to find a buyer quickly so when she decides to call the man who had previously put an offer in on the Castle and angered her father by dropping his price at the last minute, this causes further upset and anger from her mother. 

Alongside the main story and deeply entwined with it, we follow the personal lives of Ottie, Pip and Willow.  Ottie is deeply involved in a relationship that she has given her all to, but she feels that unless she pushes it’s not going anywhere.  Pip who is dealing with the most annoying male who just won’t leave her be, and Willow who is attracted to Connor Shaye who happens to be the man who she is deep in negotiations with.  She’s hoping that he will buy the Castle, so she doesn’t want to complicate that with lust or romantic notions.

Connor Shaye decides to hold a party at the Castle before he and Willow sign the sale papers. Secrets come out at the party and the past catches up with each family member in its own way.  The battle to become a close and loving family again is on.

This wonderful story makes for an awesome Christmas themed read.  I felt like I was part of this family and I wanted the best for each and every sister.  This would be an awesome Christmas gift.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Christmas Party. You can read their comments below, or contribute to the discussion by leaving your own feedback. Copies courtesy of the publisher.

10 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Christmas Party

  1. Well I started this book with tears in my eyes and ended the same way. Suffice it to say that this book is an emotional success, tugging at your heart strings and evoking great sentiment.

    I loved Karen Swan’s ‘The Christmas Party’. Starting with a families loss of their husband/father, Declan Lorne, the last knight of Ireland passes away leaving his wife and three girls to continue their lives and pick up the pieces of a failing Castle homestead.

    This book presents Ottie, Pip and Willow, three very different daughters who reveal their interconnecting lives with lots of underlying mystery and troubles lurking in the background. Along with their mother Serena and members of their close nit community, we discover their complicated lives full of troubles, grief, love and success.

    It is a lovely story, presenting complicated characters that inevitably leaves you with a happy but contemplative ending.

    A big thank you to Beauty & Lace and Pan Macmillan Publishers for supplying this delightful tale.

  2. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for the wonderful opportunity to read The Christmas Party by Karen Swan.
    From start to finish this was a fantastic book. You can relate to the characters from the very beginning. It is a wonderful story about families and the troubles that every one goes through. Completely recommend this awesome read.

  3. The Christmas party by Karen Swan – Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club

    Declan Lorne is the last living Knight of Ireland living in Lorne Castle, Kilmally Ireland.
    When Declan suddenly dies after secretly being ill for some time his three Daughters, Ottie, Pip and Willow and Serena, his Wife of many years are left to pick up the pieces.
    The Castle is in much need of expensive repairs and with no Sons the knighthood ends here!
    When his will is read everyone is very surprised to learn that he has left the Castle to his youngest daughter Willow. This news is very upsetting to Serena and the older girls especially seeing as Willow had left the country life behind to live in Dublin years earlier.
    All four of the Lorne women are holding on tight to their own secrets, grieving their Father and struggling to find their way in life.
    Relationships are strained and Lorne Castle is no longer the happy place the girls grew up in.
    This book has lots of story lines intertwining as each of the Sisters try to move forward but can they get over their pasts?

  4. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillian for the opportunity to read Karen Swan’s latest book, ‘The Christmas Party’

    As Christmas nears I love reading Christmas themed books to help me get into the festive spirit. Living in Australia enduring hot Christmases I especially love reading about winter Christmases full of snow, hot chocolate and chider, hot dinners and lots of family get togethers.

    ‘The Christmas Party’ is about a family in Ireland who’s father and husband passes away suddenly and leaves the rambling and run down castle they live in to the youngest daughter who doesn’t even live there anymore.

    The story involving the 3 sisters in Ireland was good, it was well written, interesting and intriguing. However, I would have to say that it doesn’t seem very Christmassy to me. It really could’ve been based in any season. The epilogue was the most Christmas thing about it and it was 7 pages long. That was a little disappointing in that respect but it does also mean it can be read at anytime of the year.

  5. Get the tissues ready, this is a tearfest from the first chapter to the last!

    As much as it has Christmas in the title it wasn’t very Christmas themed apart from the very beginning. However beautifully written story of the 3 sisters and how they go forward after the passing of a significant one!

    Each sister as relatable elements which is how you feel invested, it’s a good easy read that deals with struggles of the past while trying to move forward

    Great read, enjoyed it greatly

  6. How much can a family take, is it not enough that the father of the household, the last knight of Ireland, suddenly dies?
    Follow Ottie, Pip and Willow trying to make sense of a world that no longer is as they thought it was.
    Ottie helped run the castle, their home, along side her father. She also had the camping area and private beach that she managed to add funds to the family estate.
    Pip had her horses and the trekking business that also added to the estate.
    Their mother lived a loving and affectionate life at the side of their father, always the “ideal couple”.
    While Willow had escaped to a life in Dublin, with concerts, yoga and a job separate to the estate.

    The will and plans of their father shocked all, Ottie and Pip getting their respective houses and surrounds including their business, as expected. Their mother the contents of the castle and a house, the Dower house, to live. But the shock, the unmistakable shocker, Willow inherited the castle itself. Holes, leaks and repairs not withstanding this was not as it should be. A division that was put their by their father, but why, what was he thinking?

    Hidden love, one night of attraction, protection of a friend and unexpected love are in store for these girls, at a time when confusion already surrounds them. Insert Bertie, Taigh, Ben and Connor. Can they hold it together to get their lives back on track?

    So many questions pile up as the story unfolds. Hard decisions, tragedy and mishaps shape the way their stories unfold. I enjoyed the depth and stories within the story, holding my breath at times to hope and prey that things go the way I foresee them. What another brilliant novel by Karen Swan. Thanks to the publishers and Beauty & Lace book club for my chance to read this one. Perhaps a sequel would be good???

  7. I recommend The Christmas Party as a good read.
    The story is based on a family with a 400 year lineage and who continue to reside in the family castle in Ireland. The story is about love and loss and the pressures put on those we love when they try to live up to the expectations we place on them (intentional or not). How those pressures turn into bad choices which have repercussions in the future. Also woven into the story are concepts of how a person can be easily manipulated in the guise of friendship or love , what is really important for a good life, and how true friends or lovers help you spread your wings and fly so you can have a ‘red dress type of life’. A story of love, loss, friendship and family and reconnecting all with the background of the rugged Irish landscape and weather. A good Read.. 4.2/5 .
    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Pan Macmillan Publishers for giving me the opportunity to enjoy this book.

  8. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read The Christmas Party by Karen Swan.

    This book was a very emotional read so make sure you have tissues on the go! I really enjoyed it and will read again!

    I highly recommend this book 🙂

  9. I ended up really enjoying The Christmas Party by Karen Swan. At the beginning I thought it might have been a difficult read as I found the writing a bit flowery and too descriptive but this definitely improves as the book goes along and I’m so glad I persevered!
    There are quite a few layers to the story which keeps it interesting and I was always intrigued into finding out what would happen next plus, I admit, I just love reading about Christmas time in the snow and cold. Such a novelty compared to Christmas in Australia!
    Each character is quite different and has a good story to tell and I found the ending heartwarming and satisfying and brought on a few tears which always marks a good book for me!
    Thank you Beauty & Lace and to Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read this and for introducing me to Karen Swan.

  10. I took me a little bit to get into The Christmas Party by Karen Swan (possibly my mood) but then i couldn’t put it down.

    The lives of the three sisters on their own journey but together, with but without each other.

    Even when I had thought I had it all worked out ….. no I didn’t – and didn’t expect it either.

    Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read this beautiful book.

    A keeper on my bookshelf – cant wait for Karen Swans next novel

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