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Emma Hannigan’s Top 5 Christmas Reads 2012

Writing.ie | Recommended Reads

By Emma Hannigan

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Women’s fiction and memoir writer Emma Hannigan has a very good reason to enjoy Christmas – in 2005 Emma discovered that she was carrying the BrCa1 cancer gene which meant that she had an 85% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer. She decided to have surgery (removing both breasts and both ovaries) to prevent cancer striking. Since then she has battled cancer eight times – and won.  Christmas is Emma’s favourite time of year, and to celebrate, her latest book Driving Home for Christmas has just been released:

Christmas at Huntersbrook House is a family tradition and this year it’s even more important as, with mounting debts and insufficient income from the livery yard, it looks like the Craig family might have to sell their beloved family home. Pippa, Joey and Lainey are the three grown up Craig children who, caught up with their own lives in Dublin, are, as yet, unaware of the problems facing Huntsersbrook. Joey is starting to wonder if his controlling, fitness-mad girlfriend really is the one for him. Lainey, the family worrier, is doing her best to ignore her ex’s recent engagement while also trying to look out for her sister Pippa whose frivolous lifestyle is about to catch up with her. As the Christmas season approaches, the Craig family need to do some soul-searching and what better place than around the fire at Huntersbrook House. One thing’s for sure, this is a Christmas none of them will forget. But will it be their last at Huntersbrook or will they manage to save the family home?

We couldn’t think of a better author to kick off our Buy A Book for Christmas  campaign – after all , everyone should have at least one book under the tree. So what does Emma be recommend this Christmas?

Christmas Magic by Cathy Kelly

This year the paperback version of Christmas magic hits the shops. I got a present of this book last year and loved it. Fans of Cathy’s work will know what to expect. Cathy delivers in her usual warm and wonderful way. Each story is different, which might sound like a silly thing to say, but I often find collections of short stories can become a bit ‘samey’. This isn’t the case with this collection. It’s a great gift for any one who enjoys reading.


All I Want for Christmas by Various Irish Authors (Poolbeg Press)

This is a collection of short stories by many well known Irish authors including Claire Allan, Michelle Jackson, Shirley Benton, Claudia Carroll, Fiona Cassidy, Carol Coffey, Emma Heatherington, Marisa Mackle, Pauline Lawless, ME and many more! A portion of the proceeds will go to children’s charity Barnardos to help with their children’s literacy programme. So not only will you get a lovely selection box of stories with different takes on the Christmas theme, but you’ll be helping a worthy cause.


The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

If you have small children I urge you to buy this book. To me it’s Christmas personified! It’s up there with watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Wizard of Oz over the Christmas period. We still have a copy of this book knocking around the house and it’s wonderful.



Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson

I’m a huge fan of Nigella. I’ve made more friends as a result of her chocolate brownies. Her ginger bread is to die for and this Christmas book has everything you could possibly need to feed and spoil your family and friends over Christmas. Her ham cooked in coke is divine! A gorgeous present for any age.


The Guinness Book of Records 2013

Each year Santa brings this book to my children. Both always love it. I’ve two children (one of each flavour – boy and girl) and this is one of the remaining things on the planet that they actually sit and look at together without fighting. I know many of the pictures are of mildly unnerving looking characters with long curly fingernails or a face full of horrific looking piercings, but it grabs their attention. For people who have reluctant readers at home, this is a great way to encourage children and teenagers to sit and look at a book. It’s also great for nosy people like me who love learning stuff about other people!

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