Friday, 2 November 2018

Book Review - The Christmas Lights by Karen Swan

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: The Christmas Lights
Author: Karen Swan
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 1st November 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Set on the scenic fjords of Norway, The Christmas Lights by bestselling author Karen Swan is a moving Christmas tale of love and heartbreak. 

December 2018, and free-spirited Influencers Bo Loxley and her partner Zac are living a life of wanderlust, travelling the globe and sharing their adventures with their millions of fans. Booked to spend Christmas in the Norwegian fjords, they set up home in a remote farm owned by enigmatic mountain guide Anders and his fierce grandmother Signy. Surrounded by snowy peaks and frozen falls, everything should be perfect. But the camera can lie and with every new post, the ‘perfect’ life Zac and Bo are portraying is diverging from the truth. Something Bo can’t explain is wrong at the very heart of their lives and Anders is the only person who’ll listen.

June 1936, and fourteen-year old Signy is sent with her sister and village friends to the summer pastures to work as milkmaids, protecting the herd that will sustain the farm through the long, winter months. But miles from home and away from the safety of their families, threat begins to lurk in friendly faces . . .

The mountains keep secrets - Signy knows this better than anyone - and as Bo’s life begins to spiral she is forced, like the old woman before her, to question who is friend and who is foe.

What can you say about such a marvellous book, written by one of my favourite authors that hasn't already been said. 

Am I allowed to just say Wow! ... and leave it like that - as I think wow is the best was to describe the setting of this book, the stories contained within the pages, and just my overall feeling towards it all. 

I've read a couple of other Christmas books this year that have had a reference to the The Northern Lights in the title, and set somewhere in Scandinavia, so i was curious to see what Karen Swans' take on the setting would be. 

And if you are in the same position as me with Christmas reads then don't worry this was completely different, had a very different feel to it, and that is all due to the main characters and the setting. 

For Bo and Zac are a travel Instagram brand, and have over 9 million followers, they travel with their cameraman and are what appear to be a close threesome.  To the outside world they appear to have a perfect life and they are inspirational. 

They are known as The Wanderlusters and they go to places off the beaten track and try to spend at least a month if not longer in their new destination, living like a local, not in hotels, and trying to experience authentic activities. 

For this trip to Norway they have decided to spend Christmas in a shelf farm, in the Norwegian Fjords, an area that is incredibly hard to navigate to and around, even in the summer when its the season, and close to impossible in winter. 

They are renting their accommodation from Signy, and interspersed with the 2018 chapters, we have those set in 1936, in Signy's childhood, highlighting key events from one summer when she was fourteen.  At times I did wonder other then background colour what the point of the chapters were, but as the book progresses, well there are some similar themes being explored. 

As someone who is keen to do a more mainstream Norwegian Fjord cruise at some point in the future, I was very curious as to the setting of this book, and I am now completely convinced the best way for me in real life to view the fjords is by boat.  All this hiking and action man stuff isn't for me but its riveting to read about in this book. 

There is plenty of action scenes, and you really get a great feeling for the location, a spattering of the language and food, and various customs in Norway in the run up to Christmas. 

And that is before you take into account what appear to be cracks in the real version of Bo and Zac - and their stay in Norway is eye opening in so many ways that I will leave you to ponder and find out for yourself. 

This is a perfect winter's day read, that will have you utterly absorbed and not really caring how cold it is outside.  It is an enthralling story that had me completely hooked.  Easily one of Karen Swans best books to date,  if you are even halfway tempted, go and read this, you won't regret it! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...