Saturday, 8 November 2014
Home for the Holidays by Ellen Faith
Purchase on Amazon here
When Lexi and Ryan make the decision to venture home for the Christmas holidays, neither of them can wait to catch up with their families. What the pair don’t anticipate is the series of life changing events their families have been going through while they’ve been continuing with their American adventure, including a newly nudist father.
As they try to weather the storm, they discover that being back in the UK is creating more questions than answers for them as a couple and their American dream is beginning to fade. Fast.
*This novel can be read as a follow on from The Story of Us or as a standalone*
Home for the Holidays is the first book I have read by Ellen Faith and the first time I have met Lexi and Ryan. If you haven't read The Story of Us then don't worry, this book can easily be read as a standalone.
Lexi and Ryan are an engaged British couple living and working in America where they met. They are heading home to the UK for Christmas, to meet up and introduce eachother to family and friends, and also to consider wedding venues. It is no secret that Ryan has quite a bit of money and connections. I was jealous when they boarded a private jet to fly over to London. I have always wanted to fly like that....maybe one day!
Their first stop is to heavily pregnant Rosie and her husband Jason. We meet Rosie in a flustered and moody state and this hilariously continues throughout the book. The woes of being a 9 month pregnant lady are so funny, even when they probably shouldn't be! However Rosie and Jason are a wonderful couple and I loved them. They are so warm and just the sort of friends you can imagine hanging out with. It is apparent how much they care about eachother, and just how much Lexi fits in to that too. As well providing warmth, humour and affection there is a real heart stopping moment in the book when there is a complication with Rosie's pregnancy. Because of how well the book is written and the way I connected with the characters this really got to me. I was reaching for the tissues and frantically reading on.
We also meet Luke who grew up with Lexi, Rosie and Jason and was Lexi's boyfriend until a move of France at 17 tore them apart. He has since married and has a baby. It is clear that he was an integral part of their group, but moving and then his marriage has distanced this. His wife is a piece of work and I really disliked her. She doesnt appear to want Luke to have anything to do with Lexi or the friendship group. This makes it all rather awkward when they are invited to, and attend Lukes babys christening. His wife and her friends are just awful to them all and I was livid with them.
Throughout the story we also meet both sets of families. A special mention for Ryan's Dad who since he saw his son last has dispensed to wearing clothes around the house, hilarious! Again, they are all loving and warm characters in their own way and meeting them felt like a real pleasure.
We also got to tour some potential wedding venues both in the UK and America. I am an old romantic at heart so love building up an image of beautiful weddings. One venue in particular had me getting goosebumps at the thought of it. I could conjure up an image of me walking down the aisle to the man of my dreams. I will let you guess which venue if you read the book.
Being reunited with family and friends gets Lexi and Ryan thinking about the future, and you see them start to question their decision to live in America, so far way from their family and friends......will events make them reconsider and move home again? I was rooting for home all the way, perhaps because I couldnt imagine not being on the doorstep to Rosie every day.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and it was the characters that made it so fabulous. They are all so well written, and so strong in the way Ellen portrays their characteristics. Lexi and Ryan are at times nauseatingly loved up (I'm not jealous...honest!!!), but it isn't offputting because of the humour in the book. But they literally cant keep their hands off eachother. Oh to have a romance like that!! Rosie is wonderful and my favourite. She brings another dynamic to the story with her pregnancy, grumpiness, but also funny and loving side. It is clear that she and Lexi are friend for life and she is like a sister. I adored the scenes where they are up with Lexi's family and all so together and happy. That is what christmas is all about, not presents and all the stress, about being together and sharing special times.
The book wasnt all laughter though. A couple of events were far more serious and evoked both anger and also fear in me. Luke's wife could definitely be nick named the wicked witch of the west with her frostiness and nasty side. I couldnt stand her or her nasty friends at all, and the scenes at the christening party made me really cross (yep, I was totally engrossed by this point). I won't tell you what happens and spoil it for you, but she is vile!
I was almost in bits towards the end of the book, and on the edge of my seat when there are some complications with Rosie's pregnancy. You might want to have some tissues and chocolate handy. It was late at night when I got to that bit but I knew I just couldnt stop until I found out what was going to happen.
I will have to look out for a copy of The Story of Us now as I need another fix of Lexi and Ryan, and to find out how they met etc. I have really loved this book and would love to read more of Ellens work. I think she is a talent to keep our eyes peeled for in the future.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have. It's full of fun, love, friendship, family and Christmas. Happy reading!