24 Nov 2014

Book Review / A Proper Farmily Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Annabel Buchanan has it all. A privileged life. Pots of cash. Looks and manners born of generations of fabulous breeding. At least, that's what she likes people to think. But Annabel's carefully created image is about to come crashing down.

With her beloved daughter Izzy in need of a kidney transplant, Annabel is desperate to find a suitable donor. That's how she comes to admit that before Annabel Buchanan there was Daisy Benson, given up for adoption by her teenage mum and dad.

Hoping her biological family will be able to help, Annabel traces the Bensons and is horrified by the embarrassing, chavvy bunch she discovers. They're definitely not her kind of people. And she is equally baffling to them.

But as Christmas approaches and Izzy's situation brings the Benson and the Buchanan families closer, will Annabel discover at last that blood is thicker than water?


Published:     6th November 2014
Publisher:  Hodder
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Proper Family
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher
Review:  4 out of 5


My Review

What I loved about this story...
I really enjoyed the fact that you had two completely separate families; one 'well off' family who acted very posh and quite snobby like and one family who are more 'down to earth' and quite opinionated and loud.  Following both of these families when their worlds collide was very entertaining.  The two characters that I liked the most were Izzy and Sarah who strike up a friendship through all the rivalry and fighting between the families.  Another two characters that I found particularly funny was Jack and his grandfather.  Jack is a young boy and the grandfather is much older (obviously!) and is suffering from Alzheimer's.  When these two get together, the results are really quite funny, particularly how much fun they have.

What I was not fond of with this story...
If I was completely honest, I was a bit disappointed by the ending.  I won't spoil the story for you here but the conclusion to something that happens throughout this story was not the one I was expecting. 


About the Author

Encouraged my by English teacher, Mrs. Pocock, I published my first short story in Just Seventeen when I was fourteen years old. The story was called ‘Whatever happened to the wonderful boy I fell in love with’ and I published it under the pseudonym ‘Carolyn Lane’ because it largely consisted of a transcript of an argument I’d had with my boyfriend. I bought a black denim jacket from C & A with the proceeds.

I continued to contribute short stories to Just Seventeen to help pay my way through university. I studied Experimental Psychology at St Edmund Hall in Oxford. Alas, I devoted rather too much time to my social life and staggered away with an unimpressive 2:2. In retrospect, that 2:2 saved my life. It meant that none of the graduate training schemes I had hoped to join would have me. I wouldn’t become an accountant after all. I moved to London and took a series of temp jobs to support myself. It was while I was working at Prelude Audio Books, a company which took erotic ‘classics’ and put them on tape, that I met my first real novelist: David Garnett.

David is a very well respected science fiction writer, who once dabbled with writing erotica under the name Angelique. Prelude was recording the Angelique novels. One afternoon, David spent a couple of hours sitting on my desk, waiting for my boss to come back from a very long publishing lunch to discuss some unpaid royalties. I told David I’d always wanted to be a writer. He dared me to write a novella like Angelique’s. A few weeks later, I handed him my first full-length manuscript. David cast his experienced eye over my scribblings, helped me tweak it and then passed it on to his editor at Little Brown. Incredibly, she made an offer on it. My dream of becoming a proper writer was reborn.

That first book was called ‘Inspiration’. It centred on the sexual shenanigans of a group of artists in St Ives. Wary of embarrassing my parents, I published ‘Inspiration’ as Stephanie Ash. Four more Stephanie Ash novellas followed, helping me to pay my rent and attract the attention of a literary agent. In 1997, I published my first Chris Manby novel, ‘Flatmates’…

Thirteen novels on the single life as Chris Manby later, I’ve just published ‘Getting Over Mr. Right’ as ‘Chrissie Manby’ (apparently too many people are under the impression that I am a bloke!). 




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