Monday, 19 January 2015

'The Heart Of Winter' by Emma Hannigan. Review & Giveaway.


I received a copy of this title from for review purposes...

Huntersbrook has always come alive at Christmas.  A Georgian home, to a grown up family, traditions have been set over the years and winter is a magical time in this Southern Irish House.  The Craigs have a plan and hope to bring the house back to one of laughter and happiness.  The recession has hit everyone, but has it changed the core values and personalities that were there all along?  Holly and Paddy welcome back their children, Pippa, Lainey and Joey, along with a few stragglers, as they prepare for their new Huntersbrook venture...

Emma Hannigan has brought us back into the house of her earlier novel, Driving Home For Christmas, and back into the folds of the Craig family.  No longer the full estate that they used to own, Huntersbrook has been pared back and still needs more money.  The family have plans, and need to work together as a unit to get it up and running.  A medical emergency takes one chilkd out of the equation and another is too busy wining and dining clients up in Dublin to be of much help.  Can the third sibling pull things together or will Holly have to say goodbye to the home that has been in her family for generations?

As I live in a period house, Huntersbrook is a place I can almost touch or smell.  The kitchen, with its constant to-ing and fro-ing, the hallway, chillier than it should be, the unused bedrooms, chilly with radiators switched off for months at a time.  The atmosphere is tangible and just perfect for Irish fiction.  There are many, many houses like this on our island, and unfortunately, their upkeep means not many are maintained, with plenty being left to ruin.  This novel, like Driving Home For Christmas, shows how a family can become attached to their homestead, but may not realise how much until the threat of losing it becomes real.  

Emma Hannigan has re-introduced the Craigs with gusto.  The family has expanded, and some old friends are back.  Once again, the supporting characters are great and the writing is smooth and extremely readable.  I think I preferred the more mature Craig siblings, but Lainey was irritating at the start.  She was very self centered and quick to dismiss was a bit like a dog with a bone: approach with care. 
This novel can be read as a stand alone, but there is quiet a bit of back story that would be missed.  Not essential, but adds to the feel of the characters and location.  Overall, another great read from a wonderful author.  A nice fresh approach to female fiction.   

The Heart Of Winter is published by Headline Review and is available in trade paperback and ebook format

Thanks to the publishers, I have a copy of The Heart of Winter to giveaway.  Just enter via rafflecopter link below.  Open INT. 


  1. My favourite women's fiction author is Emma Donoghue..such different novels

  2. There are so many great female Irish authors. Recently I've enjoyed Carmel Harrimgton's two books, especially Beyond Grace's Rainbow. I'd highly recommend it.

  3. So many to choose from Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes

  4. I loved Anne Dunlop's stories of the Gordon sisters starting with The Pineapple Tart.

  5. Got to love Patricia Scanlan

  6. Emma Hannigan is amazing to write so much after her bouts of cancer. I read her book Talk to the Headscarf soon after being diagnosed with breast cancer myself

  7. Rachael English is really good. I would love to read a book by Emma Hannigan, I'm curious now!

  8. Sheila O'Flanagan is easily one of my favourite Irish Authors


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