The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

I picked up a copy of The Christmas Party by Karen Swan from the library. I went to get a reserved book for next year and the librarians had a small Christmas related display. Unusually for me, I got three books, thinking that if I don’t like them I can stop reading them. This is what I actually did with two books, but the one by Swan was interesting enough to make me want to finish the book.

What attracted me to it was that, despite the action taking place in 2019, the story is inspired by real events, the death of the last Irish knight. He was the 29th Knight of Glin and died age 74 without a son to inherit this title. He lived in a castle and had a wife and three daughters. He was educated at Harvard and worked as a curator at the V&A. Reading an article about him inspired Swan to write a story of the last knight, with no male heir and three daughters. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it was closer to reality.

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

The story starts after the death of Declan Lorne. Unlike the real daughters, Ottie, Pip, and Willow do not have tertiary education. Also, they consider leather trousers as classy?!
Their mother was passive-aggressive, without being able to get a grip with what she should do. Instead she was moaning that things had to change. Ottie was caught in an abusive relationship. Pip was so incredibly annoying (the main reason I took out 1 star and a half), she seemed even stupid at times. I liked Willow, she was strong and determined, the one who was trying to sort things out.

There are some twists and turns, unexpected and intriguing. But, in less than 500 pages it was too much to include stories so long, who needed to be developed. Pip’s story was poorly done and did not add anything to the overall plot. Ottie’s story was not developed enough and seemed a bit far fetched in the end. Willow’s story should have been the only plot in the book. In the blurb is mentioned that “Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet”, but that was not the case, she did not want revenge, but had to sell the castle as it was too expensive to repair the roof.

I loved how the book ended, with the gifts underneath the Christmas tree, all beautiful and meaningful. I will not read another book by her as some things were rather disappointing.

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes-ish
Published by: Pan
Year it was published: 2020 by (first published in 2019)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Fiction
Pages: 480

About the author: Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her books include Christmas at Tiffany’s, Summer at Tiffany’s, The Perfect Present, Christmas in the Snow, The Summer Without You, The Paris Secret, and Christmas Under the Stars.
Website & Social Media Links: –



4 thoughts on “The Christmas Party by Karen Swan”

  • While the true story this is based on sounds interesting, I’m not sure the novel appeals to me as much. At least it was good enough for you to finish.

    I haven’t seen anyone in leather trousers since the 80s.

    I hope the three of you (Festus included!) enjoy the coming days.
    Kelly recently posted…Christmas 2020My Profile

    • I know, I would have loved to read a biography about the real family. 🙂

      Thank you Kelly. Merry Christmas! xx

  • Hi Anca,

    Karen Swan is one of those authors I have continued to side-step actually reading, despite having had her books highly recommended by several of my reading friends, and I don’t really know why, as the storylines actually sound quite good.

    As a predominantly non-fiction reader, I can imagine that you are very selective about any fiction books you do consider, so you set the bar quite high in terms of storyline quality and character development. As this is quite a ‘chunkster’ read and yet it still failed to engage you sufficiently well, then I can imagine the disappointment you must have felt.

    Thanks for sharing, although this probably isn’t one for me right now.

    Wishing you and your husband a peaceful and safe Christmas and let’s hope that 2021 is kinder to us all 🙂

    Yvonne Xx

    • You are right about my high expectations from fiction, but I didn’t have as many this time. I was looking for a fun, light Christmas read. But one of the stories was so unrealistic. A woman in a abusive relationship will not end it in a couple of weeks because she is told by a random guy that she is worth more.

      I wish you and your husband a very Happy Christmas! xx

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