The Heart of Winter – Emma Hannigan

Huntersbrook has been owned by the Craig family for generations, however has time moves on it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain such a house. Therefore it needs to have a new life and new purpose for Huntersbrook to survive for future generations.

The future lies with Lainey, Joey and Pippa Craig. They are going to make Huntersbrook the place to hold an event in. They are going to make it the place where everyone will want to come to hold a party, get married or even just escape for a while.

However for these three Huntersbrook is not their only focus. Life seems to have a habit of not running smoothly.

Lainey leaves the nearest to Huntersbrook, in a farmhouse next door with her husband Matt and small son Ely. She has a dream of filling her home with more children, and creating a motherly role and life that she thinks she has never achieved with her own mother, Holly Craig. Dreams very rarely become the reality you want them to be.

Joey is an up and coming accountant in Dublin. He is being noticed and it looks like all the hard work he has put in is about to come to fruition and he is going to be made a partner. But it will involve more work, more time away from Huntersbrook and his girlfriend Skye, as well as involving himself in a lifestyle that perhaps does not fit with the image of being a partner in an accountancy firm. Can he really change and leave what he holds most dear behind?

Pippa, is the youngest and has a reputation for being flighty and not always there. When she becomes caught up with a lifestyle that does not suit her, it looks like it could all come crashing down for her, especially when that lifestyle starts to infiltrate the peace that is Huntersbrook.

And so the story is told from these three main characters, throughout the novel, alternating chapters. And once you have got used to this way of writing, as I appreciate it is not to everyone’s liking, the story goes along at a reasonable pace. I was drawn into watching Pippa seemingly hit the self destruct button and when I thought that it was all going to end horribly, it didn’t. Here I actually wanted more than the author gave me at this point. I felt it needed to have gone more badly, that Pippa needed to be caught to realise the effect she was having on her life. It seemed a too easy way of getting back on track.

Joey and Lainey were a bit lacklustre, and I was rather frustrated with Joey’s aim in trying to change the person he loved so she would fit into the world he was starting to favour over everyone else. Lainey’s obvious hatred for her mother, comes across and despite bridges being built through the story, I felt that this was always going to be eating away at Lainey forever. In the end she irritated me too much to feel for her.

I don’t deny that in the book, the characters all realise something and discover something about themselves, each other and what is really important to them. The message from the book is all about family but whilst I did pick this up I did not think it was strong enough to make this a standout novel for me.

Thank you to Headline for a copy of this novel. 

Now having written my review and in preparation for posting it on Amazon, I discover that there is a novel before this one which features the same characters I wonder if I had read that first I would have felt completely differently about this book. Reviews say that you get more of the background of them. 

I am interested in reading more by this author and I will certainly consider her books in the future. 


I love hearing from you so please leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.