Author: Karen Swan
Published by: Pan Macmillan on Oct. 30, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 8.5/10
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.
Alluring, mysterious, and delightfully festive!
The Christmas Lights is an atmospheric, compelling tale set in Norway during 1936, as well as the present day, and is told from two different perspectives. Bo, a young reality star unnerved by an obsessed, online stalker and struggling to enjoy a life that lacks privacy, and Signy a sweet, country girl who learns at a young age the dangers that hide on the hills she loves and amongst the animals that grace them.
The writing is smooth, crisp, and vivid. The characters are a mix of kind, endearing, self-indulgent, and exasperating. And the plot is an entertaining mix of heart, hope, angst, mystery, and drama.
The Christmas Lights is, ultimately, a story about relationships, adventure, heartbreak, secrets, expectations, love, obsession, and discovering one’s true self that highlights just how susceptible and vulnerable social media can make us. It’s a beautiful, picture postcard of the frozen terrain, rugged mountains, and breathtaking Northern Lights of the fjords of Norway, and is a charming holiday read complete with a sliver of mystique.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.