Note: I received a digital copy of Hello from the Gillespies from NetGalley for review consideration.
I don’t remember why I originally requested this book from NetGalley (probably because the author shares my first name), but I can tell you I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it nearly as much as I did! The story is sweet, the characters are realistic and endearing, and I love seeing a family pull together despite their differences. I’m still flabbergasted at how much I enjoyed this book.
Okay, on to the plot: Angela is a London-born woman, transplanted to a station in Australia after a whirlwind romance. She has spent the past thirty-some years documenting her family’s life and growth through cheery Christmas letters. However, this Christmas, things aren’t going well, and Angela relieves her stress by typing out all the things she wishes she could say in a truthful Christmas letter. When this message is accidentally sent to 100 of the Gillespie family’s friends, detailing the struggles of each of the family members, Angela has to deal with the aftermath of this mistake. But after spoilery things happen and Angela is no longer available, the rest of the Gillespie family has to pull together and rebuild.
Isn’t that an adorable setup? I love the thought of a truthful Christmas letter, which details the everyday struggles of a family, rather than just the highlights of the year. And the characters are fantastic–the twins, Genevieve and Victoria, are both suffering setbacks in their careers and their love lives; Lindy, the younger daughter, is deep in debt and highly emotional; Ig, the surprise baby, still has an invisible friend at ten years old; and Nick, Angela’s husband, is distant and withdrawn, and Angela suspects him of having an affair. Despite their flaws, each of the characters is endearing in their own way. Genevieve protects her twin sister Victoria, no matter what. Lindy perseveres in her online business, even though she made some big mistakes. Nick has been a strong, loving husband, at least until the past couple of years, and even Angela, overworked and worried about her family as she is, only wants to give her husband and children the love they need.
Plus, the setting–the Australian outback, with a little bit of Ireland thrown in, too. I just can’t tell you how well-written and surprisingly touching this book is. It would be a great book to read around Christmastime without being too sappy, but it’s a great read all year round. Definitely take a look if you’re interested in flawed but loving families. Hello from the Gillespies just might surprise you!
Rating: Re-read Worthy