They say love feels like going home . . .
but what if your home is no longer there?
Leaving her tiny flat in London -- and a whole host of headaches behind -- Lizzy Walter is making the familiar journey back home to spend Christmas with her chaotic but big-hear ted family. In an ever-changing world, her parents' country home, Keeper House, is the one constant. But behind the mistletoe and mince pies, family secrets and rivalries lurk. And when David, the Love of Her Life -- or so she thought -- makes an unexpected reappearance, this one ranks as a Christmas she would definitely rather forget.
As winter slowly turns to spring, all the things that Lizzy has taken for granted begin to shift. Keeper House is in jeopardy and might have to be sold for reasons Lizzy doesn't understand. Her family seems fractured like never before. And, with a new man in her life, she may finally have to kiss her dream of a reunion with David good-bye. By the time the Walters gather at Keeper House for a summer wedding, the stakes have never been higher -- for Lizzy, for her family, and for love.
This debut novel from Evans (a former editorial director at Penguin UK) opens with a late-twentysomething female British narrator and a crazy family holiday dinner, but quickly distinguishes itself from the usual Bridget Jones-esque fare. At the Walters' cozy Christmas in their crumbling countryside manor, trouble starts when Uncle Mike shows up with a blonde, buxom American wife, and normally affable Tom gets stinking drunk and declares his homosexuality. But then the big news hits: Kepper House-the aforementioned cozy manor-will have to be sold to fund one family member's shady dealings. So protagonist Lizzy Walter-a plucky Londoner nursing a broken heart and contemplating a move to L.A. as a way to leave behind painful memories-sets off on a mission to save the family home. Lizzy juggles her house-saving schemes with her romantic entanglements-she's dating the younger brother of the boy who broke her heart-but it's the familial characters like eccentric Aunt Chin and Chin's younger Australian fiance, and a mother and father ever-eager to hit the sauce that give the book life and depth. Charts (one rates the "level of weird behavior" of family members, another lists fundraising possibilities) and hyperactive capitalization (Lizzy washes "the Things that Are Too Big to Go in the Dishwasher") skew cutesy, but otherwise the story is set in solid writing that manages to be fun without dipping into dumbed-down frivolity.