Sunday, October 28, 2018

Book or Movie? "Coming Home for Christmas"

Now that Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas is back, it's time to restart my "Book or Movie" series! This first post is actually about a movie that premiered on Hallmark Channel during the 2017 holiday season, but I didn't get it written then. I just rewatched the movie today, so I decided it was time to get this review written 😊.

File this under "I don't know when else to tell you so I'm doing it here": I've decided to do mini review/hot takes of all the new Christmas movies I watch this year on my Instagram stories. So follow me here, and then let me know if you agree with my takes on the movies!

Coming Home for Christmas is a novel by Jenny Hale and a Hallmark Channel movie featuring Danica McKellar and Neal Bledsoe.

Christmas is a time for family... isn't it? 
Allie Richfield loves Christmas, so when she lands a job as House Manager for the amazing Ashford Estate—which includes organizing the Marley family festivities—she is in her element. With a budget bigger than her life savings and a team of staff, how hard can it be? 
As one-by-one she meets the Marleys, she’s about to find out... 
Allie’s new boss, Robert, might be gorgeous, but he’s also colder than the snow outside and refuses to come home for Christmas. Robert’s playboy brother, Kip, flirts with her relentlessly; and his sister, Sloane, arrives home with baggage—both the divorce-kind and the Louis Vuitton kind. Their ninety-two year old grandmother, Pippa, spends her day grumbling at them all from her mobility scooter. 
With Robert intending to sell Ashford, it’s the Marleys last chance to create some happy memories in their family home—and Allie is determined to make it happen... even if it takes a little Christmas magic! With the festive spirit in full swing, she might even discover a little happiness of her own...
Coming Home for Christmas is such fun! Because Robert spends so much time away from Ashford (he's a businessman living in New York), much of the romance between Allie and Robert is built up through emails and phone calls. And, somehow, it completely works! I absolutely loathed the Kip story line (Allie begins dating and continues dating him even though she doesn't want to), but I loved everything else about the book! See my review for more, including content warnings.

Coming Home for Christmas the movie ... slightly resembles the novel.
Lizzie Richfield is at a crossroads when she lands a job as house manager for the exclusive Ashford Estate in the Virginia countryside. While preparing the place for sale, Lizzie plans one final Christmas Eve gala for the Marley family, though they seem to be a family in name only. There’s Kip Marley, who never met a party he didn’t like; Robert, the handsome but all-business executor of the estate; Sloane, who arrives with her two young children, sans husband, and the 80-year-old matriarch, Pippa, a spitfire who doesn’t want to put the house up for sale at all. As Lizzie is inserted into the home and the lives of the Marley family she finds herself drawn to Robert – even as Kip pursues her. Can she navigate her suddenly complicated love life while helping mend family feuds and maybe teaching all the true spirit of Christmas?
As I stated in my review of the book, it's best to take these as two separate entities, rather than looking at the movie as an adaptation of the novel, because the two are just so different.

The characters remain basically the same, but their jobs, details about their lives, and sometimes even their names change. (Allie becomes Lizzie for some unknown reason.)

So, if we look at this purely from a Hallmark Channel Original perspective, this is absolutely delightful! Danica McKellar (Lizzie) and Neal Bledsoe (Robert) have great chemistry, something that can often be lacking in Hallmark movies. Robert is straitlaced and reserved, and he needs Lizzie to break down his walls. (Robert is the one character that feels very true to Hale's vision.) McKellar and Bledsoe seem perfectly cast in these roles, and I was basically dying for Lizzie and Robert to figure their stuff out and be together. (McKellar always makes it work, and I think she'd have chemistry with just about anyone.)

One change from the novel that I think is wonderful is that the Lizzie-Kip relationship is pretty much just wishful thinking on Kip's part. The movie definitely plays with the love triangle aspect, but it's so obvious from the moment Lizzie and Robert meet that they're meant to be that Kip is almost an afterthought.

The film is romantic, playful, and fun, and it's easily one of my favorites among the 2017 premieres. Let's just say I'll purchase the DVD if it's ever released.

So ...

Book or Movie?

For the first time in this series, it's a tie! (4-1/2 stars to both the book and movie.)

Do you agree with me? Disagree? Let me know what you thought of the book and/or movie in the comments!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. This isn't one of my favorites, but it's cute as all of Hallmark's are. Might be one I should would like to try and read the book... just because!! :)

    1. It's been nearly a year since I read the book, so I'm probably not remembering everything, but what sticks in my head is it was just so cute! As for the movie, well, I think I half fell in love with Robert ;-)

  2. Replies
    1. They really are SOOOOO different! Thanks for stopping by!


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