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4.4 out of 5 stars298
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on 6 October 2013
I have just finished my first Christmas book of 2013 in the middle of September (I know) and it was AWESOME. I actually said on Twitter that, really, there's no perfect time to read Christmas books when you live on an island that has permanent sunshine 99% of the time, and because I had set up an interview with Jenny Hale, I decided September was as good a time as any to read her debut novel Coming Home For Christmas, and I am so glad I did because it was such a wonderful, enjoyable novel. I finished it in a day, and it's been a while since I've been this caught up in a book but I loved every page and I was desperately rooting for Allie to get herself a happy ever after and I knew exactly who I wanted her to get her happy ending with!

Coming Home For Christmas introduces us to Allie, who after losing her job, returns to her mother's house in Virginia and finds herself having to start all over again. Enter her sister, Megan, a real-estate mogul who has the perfect job for her sister; becoming the in-house manager of Ashford house, which belongs to the wealthy Marley family. The house is to be sold, but until it is, Robert Marley needs someone to look after everyone in the house and Megan thinks Allie is the perfect choice. Allie takes the job and finds herself more than embroiled in the life of the Marley family, and as she gets to know the Marley family better, it may be that Allie could be the family saviour when it comes to the stubborn Marley's...

I fell in love with Coming Home For Christmas as soon as I was introduced to both Allie and the Marley family. It's very rare that I find myself loving an entire family, but the Marley's were just awesome. Not your typical rich family, they weren't particularly snobby or anything, they didn't just see Allie as the `help' and I just immediately wanted to become a part of their family! I wanted to live in Ashford, in the beautiful sounding house, with wings! WINGS! Can you imagine living in a house that has wings? It'd be like living in the White House! I could barely put the novel down because all of the Marley's had such wonderful personalities and they clicked with Allie in such different ways that I had to continue reading. Allie herself was awesome. I loved her. Easily one of my favourite female characters. Her rapport with the entire family was so good that I half expected for her to be some distant relative! Where to start with the Marley's, though? Robert, I suppose. Head of the house, a bit stubborn, doesn't really like words, without even realising it, he took my heart! Much like he took Allie's. Despite their employer/employee relationship I felt it was something more right from the off and I loved it. I loved how Allie brought out the best in Robert, it says a lot that I was totally all for Robert despite all the horrible things he was doing! He rather took my breath away.

The rest of the Marley's were no slouches either. I liked Kip's innate funness and enthusiasm. The way he just went for it with Allie and to heck with the consequences. I loved how he and Allie flipped for whether they'd date or not, it was so cute. And Pippa! Oh, Pippa! The matriarch of the house, I could imagine her zipping around on her scooter all day long. Even Sloane, who wasn't featured as much was a wonderful character. In particular I adored her two kids. I really just loved this book so much. It's set in Virginia and it made me want to visit, it's so rare to find a book set in the USA that's not New York or Boston or LA. It was so well written, Jenny Hale is such a fabulous writer with such an eye for characters you'll fall in love with. I certainly fell in love with Robert. I can't wait for Jenny's second book, this was just super amazing and it kept me reading all day with barely a pause. Read it, it's the perfect Christmas story, heck it's perfect for any time of year. Coming Home For Christmas, remember that title and buy it now, you will not regret it!
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on 31 October 2013
Okay, it's still October but I love Christmas and this is third Christmas book I've read so far and what's not to like? This has a good story with very good characters and is written by a female (Jenny Hale) which always adds an extra warmth to romantic stories. I really liked Allie and Robert, and the focus on how important family are - especially at Christmas! I read this book in no time at all and can highly recommend it. If you like a bit of comedy thrown in with your romantic Christmas reads, I can also recommend I'm Dreaming of a Wilde Christmas (A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy) which will have you howling!

From what I can gather, Coming Home For Christmas is Jenny Hale's first book? - if it is, then I believe she has a great future ahead of her as writer. I will look out for more of her books.
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on 6 December 2014
What a lovely and heart warming Christmas story. <3

To be honest: I took me a while to get into the story, but then I loved it and couldn’t put it down.

Allie is a very charismatic character with a big heart and caring personality. She wants to be independent and find a new job, but then her sister tells her about a job at a rich families house. She meets her employer Robert once and that’s it.

She gets to know his family, especially his brother Kip. Well, to two of them get closer and it’s interesting to read about her reactions and feelings towards him.

Allie is on the phone with Robert A LOT. You can sense their chemistry immediately. She tries to convince him to come home for Christmas. After a lot of times of saying no, he comes.
This is not a typical lovestory, which makes the book really special in my eyes. The main characters get to knoe each other over the phone and via emails and already fall in love (well, they don’t realise it) and only after that they meet and think about their real feelings.

I loved the scenes with Allie and Robert. So emotional and interesting. I was always waiting for something to happen between them. Well, …

It’s great to see how one person can change a whole house and a man. Sometimes all you need in life is love and the right person beside you.

There are still some twists and turns in the story, which make it more lively and unexpected.

Such a wonderful Christmas read, can’t wait to read Jenny’s next novel.

Rating: 4.5
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on 26 December 2015
Soo boring! This book had had such good reviews that although I gave up after a couple of chapters when I first bought it, I thought this Christmas I'd give it another try - it's very rare that I don't finish a novel. Managed a few more chapters but really ... life is just too short. I can cope with a slow storyline if the writing is good (and witty - I do like a good helping of wit!) but this was just dreary and predictable. Beyond me how it got such good reviews!
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on 23 December 2014
A book club read. The storyline was just not credible (give a random stranger a job without checking credentials, let them live in your house with not a clue what to do or how to manage it? Then said person is left in charge of small children for days whilst still doing other job, but luckily also has time to sleep with another member of the household amongst many other things...) The book was boring, predictable and badly written - not for me.
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on 17 December 2014
a really boring book. stupid protagonist. the characters do not come to life at all. no interesting plot points. dull, dull, even a mills and boon story would be a better read.
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on 31 May 2014
You still do not feel the Christmas spirit yet? Read Coming Home for Christmas then you’ll be in the perfect mood for Christmas! First of all, I absolutely adore the book cover. I love the font and everthing matches perfectly to the story! What a wonderful design! The publisher did a very good job!

Coming Home for Christmas is a wonderful romantic debut novel by the American author Jenny Hale. A prefect magical Christmas tale which puts you in the festive mood for Christmas.

Jenny introduces us to Allie Richfield, the main character of the story. A woman in her early thirties moves back into her childhood room at her mother’s house after losing her 11-year job as a live-in nanny. Her sister Megan, a successful estate agent, suggests her to apply to be the house manager of Ashford, home to the very wealthy Marley family. After some consideration and the flip of a coin, Allie agrees to meet with Mr. Marley. When Allie meets Robert, the oldest son and the person responsible for Ashford House, there is an instant connection between them but what happens when she meets the rest of the family? Filled with warm history and intriguing characters the Ashford Estate sets the stage for an exhilarating turn of events.

Allies job is to look after the other staff in the house, arrange the family Christmas ‘meeting’ and keep an eye on Roberts elderly grandmother, Pippa. Expecting to receive her daily tasks from Robert, Allie is surprised to learn that he won’t be attending the family Christmas, and instead will deliver a daily itinerary to her by email. Working with her mysterious boss and his family, Allie gets tangled in complicated relationships, as she tries to restore faith in family and friendship.

In many ways, christmas got very commercial by the years. For kids it’s only all about presents, presents and more presents. Jenny Hale shows you what christmas is really about - love, peace, family and faith.

I felt very connected to the book because there are a few similarities to my own family. Pippa reminded me of my grandmother. She was the bond between our families. Because of her we were seeing each other at least on christmas and birthdays. After she passed away a while ago, things changed a lot.

There is one thing I didn’t liked about the story. Sometimes I thought Allie acted like a teenager, especially when it came to Kip. He is a womanizer but very likeable and I liked his funniness and enthusiasm. Kip was always polite and sweet, sometimes a little childish in his attempt but he wasn’t treated all that fairly. Allie seems to be aware from the beginning that she is not interested in him in a romantic way, and yet goes along with all of his plans and gestures. I wished Jenny had been writing this a bit differently.

From the very beginning, I was drawn in wondering what would happen next. The estate and the surrounding she is working are described very detailed, that made it an realistic and easy read.

This was a great and very enjoyable read. I loved reading this book because I couldn't wait to learn more about the Marley family members to find out the history behind their relationships. Many romance and chick lit novels are very predictable. This one isn’t. The story keeps you guessing right to the end as to who will get their happy ever after.
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on 26 December 2013
This is the story of Allie Richfield. She is about to start work as House Manager at the Ashford Estate. The Ashford Estate is for sale after being the Marley family home for many, many years. Her job is to ensure that the day to day running of the house is carried out, but also to ensure that the family celebrate their last Christmas at Ashford, well some of the family.

Immediately I loved Allie's character. I loved her independence but also loved her absolute love for her family. Her love for her family, her mum and her sister, overflows into the Marley household, as she uses it to try and inject some warmth into the old house again.

At first when we meet Richard there is an instant connection between him and Allie, but this is put on the back burner as he is completely shut off and reserved, feeling like he is very cold in his attitude to his family and the house.

We meet the other members of the family as they all return to Ashford one last time. Kip, Robert's brother is an absolute player, he wins Allie's affections straight away with his outright flirty manor. Robert's sister Sloane appears to be a little wary of Allie at first but when the story unfolds you get to learn a little more about Sloane's current family situation. Then there is Robert's grandmother. She is somewhat of a mystery. Robert's description of her makes you think of a frail little old lady who's house has outgrown her. But when you really get to know her you discover her true family spirit and the tragic events which dominate her relationship with Robert.

This story is centred around the family coming home for Christmas, but it also so much more than that. The story is predominantly about family, about the relationship we have with our family members but also how blood is thicker than water and that truly family can overcome anything which is beautifully portrayed in the story between Pippa and Robert.

I really enjoyed that the focus was also on Christmas as it resonates with the family theme that runs along with it in the story. A really, truly great story which will warm your hearts and show you the true meaning of family at Christmastime.

Erin x
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on 28 December 2013
Allie wants nothing more than to teach but after failing to get any of the jobs she's applied for she's ended back at home living with her mum. When her sister Megan says that she has the perfect job for her, as a live-in manager in a mansion that Megan is selling for her client Robert Marley, Allie reluctantly agrees.

Ashford is the family home for the disfunctional Marley family but it now belongs to eldest son Robert who wants to sell up against the wishes of the rest of his family, grandmother Pippa, sister Sloane and brother Kip. But the longer she lives there the more she feels at home and connected to them all and wants to be able to convince Robert not to sell. But who is she to convince him if he won't listen to his own family?

Usually when I'm reading a book I'll relate to one or two characters above the rest and usually find at least one character that I don't really like, but this was not the case with Coming Home for Christmas as I really liked them all even the surly Robert despite finding myself wanting to shake him at times...

This was a fun, festive read with a hint of romance. Although set at Christmastime I'm sure that you'd enjoy reading this at any time of the year as the underlying theme of the story was the importance of family.

An enjoyable debut from Jenny Hale and I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for more books from her in the future.
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There's something magical about Christmas and reading about it nearly 3 months before the event is no exception.
Whilst the rain pelted the windows outside I was sat in the warm being enveloped by the festive spirit contained in Jenny Hale' words.

Coming Home for Christmas tells the story of 32 year old Allie who finds herself moving back in with her mother after 11 years away from home. So much has changed and Allie knows it's not just her duvet cover she's outgrown.
Knowing that she needs to find work, Allie although reluctant, takes the advice of her sister Megan and applies for the job of Estate Manager at Ashford Estate, a multi million pound mansion.
After meeting the head of the Estate Robert Marley, Allie soon finds herself caught up not just in the estate but the family too.
Could she be their Christmas angel?

I loved this story, there wasn't one unlikable character, in fact I found myself loving the Marley's and their family dynamics.
Kip is flirtatious and good looking, you can feel the attraction him and Allie have from their very first meeting.
But for me the relationship between Allie and Robert had me enraptured, the changes the employee brings out in the employer is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

A festive debut to warm the heart whatever the season, which leaves you eagerly awaiting more from Jenny Hale!
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