THE CHRISTMAS PARTY, by Karen Swan, PGC, Pan Macmillan


The Christmas Party is a delicious, page-turning story of romance, family and secrets, by the Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan.

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

Out October, 2019

474 Pages Approx.


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

I have come to love reading Karen Swans’ contemporary Christmas books.  I’ve also reviewed and interviewed this remarkable author. Here.

Karen Swan is known for creating complex, strong women characters who are put into extraordinary situations and intoxicating settings. She adds elements of suspense and mystery, along with romance to drive tension and create conflict that leads to explosive conclusions. This brilliant author, also strong and complex, puts a lot of challenges in front of her characters, those that break down barriers, lift up spirits and provide fulfilling outcomes that are truly entertaining and engrossing.

Her settings are richly descriptive, providing  strong hurdles for her characters, and complexities to the story. She places her fully realized characters right in the middle of them to find their way through a labyrinth of difficult yet rewarding challenges, leaving them to finish with a satisfying, heart-felt resolution. Although this may sound predictable in format, Swan’s talented use of plot maneuvering and writing unexpected twists and turns, along with applying fast pacing keeps you guessing right up to the lovely end. Her writing skills makes this book and all Swan’s others far from predictable.

The Christmas Party is no less a brilliant compilation of talent and whimsical writing that is sure to please anyone looking for a contemporary, strong-woman based story that is surrounded by a holiday theme and considered an easy read.  Irish elements are all throughout the book with accents and mannerisms to charm the reader and give a true sense of setting.

Sisters, at odds, and owning their own issues are brought into the mix to keep the reader intrigued and wondering more and more about their history and family dynamics as the story progresses. You’ll feel their pain and laugh out loud with the humour that’s shared, along with their feelings of fear, anxiety over their potential futures and the fatality of their family’s well-being as sisters, and the bonds they should be sharing.

Each sister must overcome a similar family loss, financial issues left behind, and their own individual struggles with relationships. This is mostly what Swan writes about–relationships.

Although in a Christmas setting, this book, as does many of her others, uses the holiday theme as a small murmur in the background in comparison to the development of characters and their growth throughout the story. She focuses mainly on the characters reactions, emotions and achievements of goals.

Mostly character driven stories are the overall summary of Swan’s books. The third person perspective gives the narration in this book,  a shadowed view of character reactions sometimes leaving readers to fill in some blanks. This may be daunting for some readers but I like this.

Not as lengthy as some of her books, but thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommendable.

I gave this book:


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