Funny and tender, this is a magical Christmas story from the Number One bestselling author of The Alphabet Sisters.
'I've had zillions of family Christmases. Let's all try something new this year.'
Lola Quinlan has a secret up her sleeve. As much as the sparky, mischievous great-grandmother adores her family, this year she has different plans for the holidays in the beautiful Australian valley.
Thinking it will add some extra sparkle to the festive season, she invites a mystery group of strangers to spend Christmas at her Valley View Motel.
But in the countdown to Christmas, her brood's need for her grandmotherly guidance threatens to derail her plan. And little does Lola guess that each of her prospective guests is escaping their own family troubles.
Between the Quinlans' dramas, her mystery guests and the unexpected rediscovery of an old flame, Lola's encounters will show her that even the best-laid plans can't stand in the way of a little Christmas magic . . .
'Some novels are simply very special. This is one of those novels' Hello
Australian author McInerney revisits the Quinlan family (first introduced in 2005's The Alphabet Sisters), this time focusing on the quirky matriarch: 84-year-old Lola. After ensuring that her son, Jim the proprietor of the South Australian motel that Lola calls home and his wife, Geraldine, go on a much needed vacation over Christmas, Lola secretly invites a disparate group of guests to stay at the motel free of charge. As the adventure approaches, readers learn that Lola is a favorite among friends and family, including her squabbling granddaughters Bett and Carrie, who prefer commiserating with their grandmother to confiding in Geraldine, a practice that triggers the latter's resentment. Lola also serves as referee and advice-giver at the thrift store where she works, whose "NASA control room" of computers she uses to keep in touch with great-granddaughter Ellen. Politics at the shop, family tensions, a rotating cast of characters, and the possibility of Lola locating her lost love keep this book jam-packed with plot lines, and though one gimmicky thread gets lost en route to the end, big personalities and believable conflicts keep the story engaging.