Book Review : Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

November 4, 2014 Book review 8 ★★★★

I love this author!  One of her previous books The Faraday Sisters is one of my favourite books and I know when I crack open a book by Monica; I’ll get a funny, relatable and compassionate family saga.

Book Review : Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerneyHello From The Gillespies by Monica McInerney
Published by Penguin Books Limited (UK) on 6 Nov 2014
Genres: Contemporary Women, Emotions & Feelings, Family Life, Friendship, Love & Romance
Pages: 600
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent 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 poorly with retirement. Her 32-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 from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together – and pull themselves together – in wonderfully surprising ways . .

First Line of Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney:

“It was December the first.”

My Thoughts on Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney:

This is such a warm read.  It is very character driven and I got attached to every single member of this Australian Irish family.  I know nothing about living in the Outback on a remote ranch but I felt like I was there.  I took on all their worries and problems and smiled through the happy times along with them.

The main character is Angela and she is the lynch pin that holds this family together.  Every year Angela sends out a Christmas Letter but this year due to a series of events the letter that gets sent isn’t the ‘official’ one instead it’s one where she spills her honest feels on what is happening for each family member.  It isn’t pretty and it’s very embarrassing all round for everyone.  I love how the family react to this though and it makes for a fun, lively read with lots of emotional heart-tugs.

I can’t think of any character I didn’t connect with, each had some character flaws but in a good way that just made them more realistic. OK I didn’t love particularly their gran aunt but there has to be one character you love to hate in every family saga.  And she wasn’t all bad either, she was rounded enough that I felt a mild affection for her coupled with high doses of irritation.

From messy love lives, to job worries, to financial woes, the family have a lot to cope with (just like any family) and there are lots of threads to keep you invested in the book.  I was thoroughly entertained by the lives of her grown up daughters – Genevieve, Victoria and Lindy – all of whom have their own distinct personalities to add flavour and colour to the book along with her younger son Iggy.

And then just when I thought it was getting a bit predicable, something unexpected happened which added a new angle to the plotline.  However despite this plot twist, it is still more of a character driven book rather than a plot driven one which is fine by me as that is just the way I like them.

At over 600 pages long, I was afraid the book would lose momentum but I never felt that.  With a smooth writing style, full of delicious detail about the characters, I was intrigued from the first page to the last page.

Overall with its warm, gossipy, relatable tone, I loved this book and I look forward with pleasure to any future ones that Monica writes.  She has a formula and she has it nailed.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney?

If you are a fan of contemporary womens fiction that feature charismatic characters in a family setting then I’d recommend this one to you.  Due to its heart-warming themes, I think it would be a great Christmas read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books (UK) for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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8 Responses to “Book Review : Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney”

  1. Donna @ OnDBookshelf

    I liked this one, but I got a little bored in the middle third. I loved the beginning (such a novel concept with the Christmas letter aspect), but it got a little too much like a soap opera in the middle. The ending redeemed it (the interactions with the mom and the son were so sweet). I wish about 100 pages could have been removed from the middle, then it would have been perfect.
    Donna @ OnDBookshelf recently posted…Review: Accidents of Marriage

    • trish

      I can understand why you felt like that. I love character driven books and I really attached to the characters so I was happy just reading about them. But I get why you felt it might have dragged too.
      And yes the mother and son bits were really heart warming. Glad you more or less liked it!

  2. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I’ve been wanting to read this! I love the idea of a “real” Christmas letter getting let out into the world. I can only imagine the chaos! I’m glad to hear this is the 2nd book you’ve enjoyed by this author. It makes me more likely to go find this one. Great review! Though for some reason I’m surprised that the setting is Christmas because of the cover but than I remembered that the seasons are reversed in Australia so all is right in my head again!
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…The Shiro Project – Blog Tour Review

    • trish

      The chaos and embarrassment make for a fun storyline! And I loved the Australian setting, it added something extra to the book. And yes the cover seems odd but like you said not for a down under Christmas 🙂

  3. Greg

    This looks like a good one, that cover keeps popping out at me when I see it and I like the idea of the “wrong” letter being sent- oops. I imagine that causes all kinds of headaches! Looks like a fine read, and great review too!
    Greg recently posted…Sunday Post #69

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