‘It’s the time of year … to run away from your life’
– All Wrapped Up
[ About All Wrapped Up ]
Holly always seems to make the wrong decisions: her career in London is going nowhere, and she’s ended up engaged to a man she doesn’t love.
Which is why she decides that’s all going to change – starting with calling off her engagement, six weeks before their Christmas Eve wedding.
Then Holly sees an ad for what could be her dream job: helping to declutter a remote country house back home in Ireland. It’s her chance to avoid all talk of weddings and the trappings of her least favourite time of year.
But when Holly arrives at the beautiful but neglected Knockboden, she discovers that Serena Harpur, the glamorous owner, is planning on renting it out as a romantic honeymoon destination in a bid to avoid financial ruin.
With Serena’s handsome but moody son hanging around, dead set against his mother’s plan, Holly begins to wonder if she’s made yet another bad decision.
Then Serena gets a phone call that looks set to change the fate of Knockboden. Will Holly realise that maybe she has found herself in exactly the right place, at the right time of year, for the first time ever?
[ My Review of All Wrapped Up ]
All Wrapped Up by Ally Bunbury was published November 3rd with Hachette Ireland. It is described as ‘a sparkling festive story’.
Holly O’ Leary is a young woman working in London, who has her life mapped out ahead of her. Her fiancé, Giles, is perfect on paper. Their wedding day preparations, home in Dublin, are in full swing. Her mother, as chief organiser, is making sure that the celebrations will have the full trimmings. Her brother has his flights booked home from Australia. Giles is a romantic. He is self-assured and sincere. But Holly feels that the magic just isn’t there and asks herself if it ever really was?
Calling off the wedding is a monumental decision but Holly knows that it is the right thing to do. She also knows that she cannot tell her mother the truth just yet. She mentions a postponement to her mother to keep her quiet and makes a drastic move. On a whim, she takes up a position in a remote house near the Wicklow Mountains.
The house is owned by the enigmatic Serena Harpur. Serena, now in her senior years, is facing severe financial difficulties. After her husband died, Serena was left with an insurmountable debt and is now struggling to stay afloat. Her son Tyrone is a high-flyer in New York and Serena is aware of his impatience with her circumstances. Her home in Knockboden is in complete disrepair. Tyrone believes the time is right for Serena to sell up but she has her foot firmly on the ground. Serena Harpur has always lived her life outside of the rulebook. She has no intention of changing her ways just yet.
She brings Holly in as someone to help her declutter, with the notion of setting up a romantic B&B. Serena is hopeful that it will alleviate some of the pressure. But Serena sees the world through a glass of gin and has no concept of the work required. Holly is overwhelmed by the task ahead but with no alternative, she digs in and gives it her best. But it’s not long before Holly sees the impossibility of Serena’s wishes.
An unexpected phone call delivers unexpected options and soon Knockboden becomes a hive of activity. When Tyrone returns from Manhattan, he again tries to persuade his mother that this is all complete madness. With the holiday season approaching, Holly is driven forward by Serena’s optimism and is the antithesis of Tyrone’s pessimism. Serena’s plans for Knockboden are audacious and quite staggering. Fearless, she believes everything is possible with a bit of luck, and an early tipple.
Can Holly help Serena save her home? Will Holly ever find her place in the world? What really happens under the mistletoe in Knockboden?
All Wrapped Up is a very sweet and charming Christmas story. It will appeal to all looking for a warm and joyous seasonal read. Serena is the queen of All Wrapped Up, with a personality and a past that really deserves its own story. Many of the characters in the book are quite fluffy and foolish, but I think that that is its appeal. All Wrapped Up is a fun, light-hearted book that doesn’t take itself too seriously. An entertaining and lively read, perfect for these chaotic days!
[ Bio ]
Ally Bunbury is a bestselling novelist, based in Ireland. Inspired by the TV sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, she embarked upon a PR career in New York, London and Dublin. During a personal sabbatical in Paris, Ally wrote the draft of her first novel, The Inheritance. A frequent contributor to The Irish Times, Ally lives with her husband, historian Turtle Bunbury in the countryside.
Website ~ http://www.allybunbury.com