Review: Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McIerney


Title: Hello from the Gillespies

Author: Monica McIerney

Published: Michael Joseph: Penguin AU September 2014

Read an Extract

Status: Read from September 25 to 27, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Australian-born but Dublin-based Monica McInerney is an internationally best selling author of novels that explore the joys and challenges of family and relationships. Hello from the Gillespies is her tenth novel, following on from her most recent successes, The House of Memories and Lola’s Secret.

For thirty three years, Angela Gillespie has sent a lighthearted letter on December 1st, updating family and friends on the lives of the Gillespies, who live on a large sheep station in outback South Australia, but this time when she sits down to write her annual missive she forgoes the usual niceties and vents her doubts about her marriage, her concerns about their financial affairs, her worries about her children, her frustrations with an interfering aunt and wonders, what could have been. The letter was never meant to be sent but Angela is interrupted by an emergency (her youngest son accidentally amputating the tip of a finger) and her husband, who hasn’t bothered to read the letters in years, thinks he is being helpful when he presses send.

Hello from the Gillespies offers a warm hearted, funny and sometimes poignant glimpse into family life. When Angela’s letter makes all their secrets public, the fall out for the family, which includes her husband Nick, their adult daughters Genevieve, Victoria and Lindy and ten year old son Ig, is mixed. As they struggle to come to grips with the truths laid bare, an unexpected twist in the tale challenges the very foundation of the Gillespie family.

McIereny’s characters are appealing and believable. As a wife and mother, I identified with Angela’s frustrations and concerns. It is a rare woman I suspect who hasn’t at least once wondered ‘what if?’ Perhaps my only niggle is that I felt the adult daughters behaved in ways more appropriate for twenty something rather than thirty something year old’s (I don’t have a lot of patience for the adultescent trend). However, the situations the characters find themselves in ring true, albeit slightly exaggerated, as do the dynamics between the family members.

Despite its length, the story had no trouble keeping my attention with several twists to the plot keeping it interesting, though the conclusion was predictable. The writing is accessible with natural dialogue. The settings, which includes the Gillespie station and brief glimpses of Ireland, London, New York and Adelaide, are authentically portrayed.

A heartfelt, witty and perceptive story about family, friendship and love, Hello from the Gillespies is an entertaining and charming read.


Hello from the Gillespies is available to purchase from

Penguin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I Amazon AU  I   via Booko

AmazonUS I BookDepository I Indiebound

and all good bookstores.




7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Teddyree
    Oct 01, 2014 @ 17:32:12

    I enjoyed The House of Memories so I’ll definitely pick this one up some time soon. Nice review Shelleyrae 🙂



  2. writenote1
    Oct 01, 2014 @ 17:39:56

    I’m looking forward to reading this. Nice review, Shelleyrae.



  3. Mystica
    Oct 01, 2014 @ 18:12:00

    Sounds such a good read and I like the setting.



  4. laurelrainsnow
    Oct 02, 2014 @ 00:03:20

    I have just about finished with this one, and I’m enjoying it and it is hard to put down. I agree with you about those daughters, especially Lindy, who is beyond annoying in her behavior, IMO. And the boy Ig was so odd, but then he got more likeable near the end. Thanks for sharing.



  5. Lisa
    Oct 02, 2014 @ 02:44:26

    I’m looking forward to reading this one! Thanks for the great review. 🙂



  6. Deborah
    Oct 05, 2014 @ 13:48:53

    This isn’t the sort of book I’d usually read (not being crime-fiction ‘n’ all!), but after reading a few positive reviews I requested it and it’s in my NetGalley folder.

    I’m kinda looking forward to it.



  7. Greg
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 12:01:15

    Sound very nice , I’ve heard good things about this one (think I saw it at Laurel Rainsnow’s blog) and while it’s not my usual read, I have to admit I’m intrigued. Just the fact that the holiday message got sent, dirty laundry and all , is a humorous premise. Glad to hear it’s a good one.



I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s