Fiction Book Reviews

Romance | The Christmas Party | Karen Swan

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I LOVED The Christmas Party.  I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you today.

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible – made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past?

Book cover The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan is published by Pan and is available to purchase in digital, paperback and audiobook formats.


This is one of those stories that you don’t want to end!  I’ve been so caught up in the lives of the Lorne family that I couldn’t resist reading at every opportunity.

I loved how all three sisters are so different with their distinct personalities and characteristics.  Ottie, trying to live up to all that comes with being the firstborn, hiding her own secret that has kept her pinned in place (when she should be spreading those wings); Pip, headstrong with a big secret dream and whose actions have a devastating effect on her; Willow, the baby of the family with knowledge of a secret that shuts down her emotions and keeps everyone at a distance.  Despite their underlying secrets, the bonds that have grown since childhood are still very much in evidence.  Unusually for me I didn’t have a favourite, finding myself getting so emotionally attached to all three as the story unfolds. 

I enjoyed the community on the Lorne estate.  Taigh has his work cut out for him for sure!  The landscape is rugged and windswept, perfect for Bertie to use as part of his Ultra race and a great way to bring Ben into the story.  Connor – the anti-hero whose role is more than the buyer of the castle …

The pop-up Christmas Party is the perfect setting for those secrets to come into the light of day.  A few tense scenes that made me feel anxious!  Loved the conflict and the truths.

I thought there were a few important messages – about relationships, manipulation, perceptions and judgements.

I loved the ending.  Sometimes those ends need tying up and this was one of them.  Perfection.

The Christmas Party explores the very emotional life event of how the death of a loved one turns everything on its head and the reluctance of having to let go and move into a different future.  Another outstanding read from one of my favourite authors.  Highly recommended.

Karen Swan is the Sunday Times top three bestselling author of sixteen books and her novels sell all over the world. She writes two books each year – one for the summer period and one for the Christmas season. Previous winter titles include Christmas at TiffanysThe Christmas SecretThe Christmas Lights, and for summer, The Rome AffairThe Greek Escape and The Spanish Promise.

Her books are known for their evocative locations and Karen sees travel as vital research for each story. She loves to set deep, complicated love stories within twisty plots, sometimes telling two stories in the same book.

Twitter @KarenSwan1 Facebook KarenSwanAuthor

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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.