Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine, from an author that is new to me: Hello from the Gillespies, by Monica McInerney.
Intro: It was December first. Angela Gillespie did as she’d done on that date for the past thirty-three years. She sat down at her desk before dinner and prepared to write her annual Christmas letter.
After doing so many, she had the process down to a fine art. It was a matter of leafing through her diary to recall the year’s main events, writing an update about each member of the family—herself, her husband and their four children—attaching a photo or two, then sending it off.
She’d written her first Christmas letter the same year she was married. Transformed from single traveler Angela Richardson of Forest Hill, London, to newlywed Mrs. Nick Gillespie of Errigal, a sheep station in outback South Australia, she couldn’t have been further from her old life, in distance or lifestyle. She’d decided an annual letter was the best way of keeping in contact with her friends and relatives back home. As the years went by, she’d added Nick’s relatives, their neighbors and her new Australian friends to the mailing list. It now went to more than a hundred people worldwide.
Teaser: Angela was in her pottery studio. She’d been there for the past hour, ever since she’d reread her letter. She wasn’t working. She was hiding. (p.118).
Blurb: For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth….
The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.
Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways…
I was first drawn to this book by the memories of those Christmas letters I used to receive from friends…usually the people weren’t all that close, and the letters always sounded as though the families depicted in them were perfect, with flawless lives. Of course I knew that couldn’t be, but sometimes, we see what people want us to see.
What do you think? Would you keep reading?