This year Christmas has been a little poignant for us, it was our final Christmas Day in our childhood home. Mum and Dad are moving out to a small bungalow early next year.
They lived in the house for 42 years and I have so many happy memories of my childhood spent there, but it's time for them to downsize now.
They are not going far away, but even so, it's going to be quite sad when we lock the door for the final time.
I was very spoilt this year, receiving some beautiful gifts from family and friends. Lots of scented candles, and of course, some new books to delve into.
Whilst Martin was engrossed in the Doctor Who Christmas Special yesterday, I had my nose firmly in Jodi Picoult's lastest book; Lone Wolf which will be published in the UK by Hodder and Stoughton on 28 February 2012.
I had read mixed reviews of Lone Wolf before I started reading it, with some readers really not enjoying it and others who rate it her best yet. I heard Jodi talk briefly about Lone Wolf when I saw her on tour earlier this year.
I am firmly in the 'loved it' camp, and I'm so relieved about that - I've been a fan for years and hate the thought that I'm not going to enjoy a new novel by a favourite author.
Lone Wolf is a story with many themes, expertly woven together to produce a thought-provoking novel with some surprises along the way. The story centres around Luke Baxter, a wolf specialist who has been involved in a serious road traffic accident - he is now lying in a coma in a hospital bed. His prognosis is not good, it is likely that if kept alive mechanically, he will remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
His two children; Edward and Cara know what they want to do. Cara is convinced that Luke can survive and is determined to do all that she can to ensure that he has a chance. Edward is sure the Luke would want to die, that he lived to the full and would never want to remain in a coma for years and years.
The story is narrated by each character in alternate chapters, not just Cara and Edward's voices - but the voice of their Mother and other associated characters.
The voice of Luke himself is heard too. I particularly enjoy this style of narration as it allows the reader to learn more about each character and what makes them tick.
The familiar Picoult themes of family dilemma, family relationships and legal battles are all here in Lone Wolf - all very well done, and a compelling and exciting read.
What stands out for me in this story is the amount of research that has been done into the world of the wolf. Luke's chapters are full of details about how a wolf pack operates, the pecking order, the relationships, the way of life and how he, a mere human infiltrated this pack of wild animals and became accepted. This is fascinating and at times really thrilling stuff which opened up a whole new world for me.
Lone Wolf is Jodi Picoult at her very best - a superb story with characters that are realistic. The plot is fast paced, fascinating and makes the reader consider 'just what would I do?'