Wednesday, 12 December 2018

New Release Spotlight & Review: Deck the Halles by Stephanie Dagg

Deck the Halles by Stephanie Dagg

It’s next Christmas at the little French llama farm.
Last Christmas infamous Australian author Nick bought the farm, that was meant to be furnished and without llamas. The reverse proved to be the case. Noelle had been sent to pet sit the llamas until his arrival. After a decidedly frosty start, Nick and Noelle’s relationship warmed up rapidly and they’re now happily living together, with an ever growing assortment of animals.
They’re looking forward to a quiet, romantic Christmas together but at the last moment Noelle is called on to find a venue for the annual national llama show. The local agricultural halles are free so she books them, thinking that’s all she’ll have to do to help. She couldn’t be more wrong! On top of that, various relatives start turning up on her doorstep unexpectedly, as the result of assorted crises. The farmhouse is about to burst at the seams. Add in a few other events, such as playing the part of a pixie at a Christmas fĂȘte, organising Nick’s book launch and training a non-cooperative llama for the agility class in the show, and Noelle is pushed ever closer to the end of her tether. Can she hold it together and stay as calm as a llama? Or will she be the next member of her family to make a bolt for pastures new?
This festive, feel-good and fun novel is the sequel to ‘Fa-La-Llama-La: Christmas at the Little French Llama Farm’ but can be read as a standalone.

Festive escapism, Deck the Halles is a sequel novel to Fa-La-Llama-La and can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel.

Eleven months since Noelle and Nick ended up together, they've settled into life and routine as there menagerie of stray animals increases. With a Llama Show scheduled for December (who knew they existed!), it's decided they would combine it with the unwritten novel Nick was going to write and launch; on the release day of a rival writer. With a plan in place, they spring into action, but life in rural France with its rules and red-tape isn't going to make the theory become a reality without an uphill battle or two.

I was unfamiliar with the author's writing style before reading Deck the Halles but instantly fell for the charm and humour of her writing. Littered with English and Australian colloquialisms, the light-hearted hilarity is captivating as I devoured the pages filled with rural French life and Llamas. Noelle and Nick make a cute couple and enjoyed the banter flowing between them. With a friendly bunch of secondary characters in place, the narrative kept my interest as I absorbed the amusing seasonal tales against the lovely French backdrop.

Some of the most intriguing sections of the novel are about the llamas and the author's own experience with this fascinating creatures shines through with her descriptions. I appreciated how she explains the nuances of their nature and behaviour and how to interact with them.

Who knew Llamas, Christmas and France could be so fun together? If you're looking for a laugh-out-loud, and entertaining novel with a delightful plot and a happy ever after, this romantic comedy should hit the spot!

***review copy received courtesy of the publisher***

I'm an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than 'belonging' to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail. Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it's been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at
I'm married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.
I'm a traditionally-published author of many children's books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at The rest of the time I'm running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal's poop.