Author: Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview The Last Summer by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheLastSummer #TheWildIsleSeries #KarenSwan #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Last Summer by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheLastSummer #TheWildIsleSeries #KarenSwan #PGCBooks Title: The Last Summer

Author: Karen Swan

Series: The Wild Isle #1

Published by: Pan Macmillan on May 3, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 496

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

When the residents of St Kilda ask to be evacuated from their remote island home in the summer of 1930, it’s in search of a better life on mainland Scotland compared to the scratch existence on their mountain in the sea.

For eighteen-year-old tomboy Effie Gillies, it’s a bittersweet departure. She’s the best young climber on the island, as skilled and brave as any of the men. But it is Effie’s expansive knowledge of local bird life that leads her to take up a position as curator of Dumfries House’s ornithological collection – and back into the arms of Lord Dumfries’ son and heir, Sholto.

During her last summer on St Kilda, Effie had been Sholto’s guide, and their attraction had seemed irresistible. But, in the glamorous polite society of Ayrshire, it is clear they are worlds apart. When a body is discovered on the island, soon after the evacuation, a scandal erupts as Effie is implicated. Sholto knows she’s keeping secrets – but are they even her own?

The Last Summer is the first in an epic, sweeping historical series by Sunday Times bestseller Karen Swan, set in and around the Scottish island of St Kilda.


Review:

Enthralling, mysterious, and romantic!

The Last Summer is an absorbing tale that sweeps you away to 1930 and into the life of Effie Gillies, an eighteen-year-old girl who, along with her family and closest friends, is one of thirty-six inhabitants of the isolated St. Kilda archipelago who is content with her isolated existence, living a simple life amongst the birds and the cliffs, until things start to get a little more complicated and she falls for a man way above her station, the government decides to evacuate the island villagers to the mainland, she takes on a new job curating the ornithological collection of Lord Dumfries, the father of the man who stole her heart, and the deserted island is left with more than just empty dwellings and whispered secrets, but the body of a man who wasn’t all that kind or liked and had more than one person who wished him dead.

The writing is eloquent and vivid. The characters are hardy, resilient, and brave. And the plot is an alluring tale of life, loss, family, friendship, community, intrigue, mystery, drama, expectations, angst, social division, heartbreak, and love.

Overall, The Last Summer is a beautifully written, incredibly atmospheric, brilliant start to a new series by Swan that I absolutely devoured, highly recommend, and is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview Midnight in the Snow by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheSecretPath #KarenSwan

#BookReview Midnight in the Snow by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheSecretPath #KarenSwan Title: Midnight in the Snow

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Oct. 1, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a wonderfully romantic novel from Karen Swan, bestselling author of The Secret Path, The Christmas Party, and Together by Christmas.

Midnight in the Snow is the story of a forbidden attraction in the dramatic surroundings of the snow-covered Austrian Alps, by Canadian and international bestseller Karen Swan.

It’s the red carpet life for filmmaker Clover Phillips. Her documentary on surfer Cory Allbright is winning awards around the globe for shining a spotlight on life after his tragic accident. Now she’s free to choose her next subject.

But everything changes when Cory is found dead and his widow needs answers. Clover makes a promise to find out the truth about what happened the day his life fell apart, turning her attention to the man responsible, disgraced surfing champion Kit Foley. Rejected by the sport he loves, he’s starting over as a snowboarder in the Austrian Alps. Kit wants nothing to do with the film but his new sponsor has other ideas. Soon Clover and her team are shadowing him on the slopes and in the chalet.

It’s dislike at first sight but boundaries become dangerously blurred as Clover finds herself drawn into Kit’s power games. Each of them vie for control over the project – until a revelation blows Kit’s secretive past wide open. Finally Clover has her answers, and the material for her explosive new film. Kit Foley is everything she ever said he was… Isn’t he?


Review:

Absorbing, intense, and delightfully addictive!

Midnight in the Snow is an intriguing, atmospheric tale set predominantly in the Austrian Alps that immerses you into the life of documentary filmmaker Clover Philips as she searches for answers from the one man, Kit Foley, whose reputation proceeds him, has seamlessly moved on to conquer a new sport, and remarkably still seems to have nothing to say about that one fateful decision he made that cost his fellow professional surfer his health, livelihood, and eventually his life.

The writing is effortless and smooth. The characters are multilayered, withdrawn, infuriating, and dedicated. And the plot is an entertaining mix of hope, heart, angst, drama, and mystery.

Midnight in the Snow is, ultimately, a story about relationships, competitive rivalry, adventure, heartbreak, scandal, secrets, guilt, grief, expectations, and protecting those you love that highlights just how relentless and unscrupulous the media can be. It is a wonderfully alluring tale that sweeps you away to the snowy mountains of Europe, charms, satisfies, and, at least for me, kept me up way past my bedtime to finish.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview The Secret Path by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheSecretPath #KarenSwan

#BookReview The Secret Path by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheSecretPath #KarenSwan Title: The Secret Path

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on May 3, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Every step leads me back to you.

At just twenty years old, Tara Tremain has everything: a trainee doctor, engaged to the man of her dreams—a passionate American biology student called Alex Carter. But just when life seems perfect, Alex betrays her in the worst way possible.

Ten years later, she’s moved on, with a successful career, good friends and a man who loves her. But when she’s pulled back into her wealthy family’s orbit for an unmissable party in the heart of Costa Rica, she finds herself flung into crisis: a child is desperately ill and the only remedy is several days’ trek into the heart of the jungle.

There’s only one person who can help—but it’s the man who shattered her heart a decade before. And how can she trust him, of all people?


Review:

Absorbing, escapist, and heartwarming!

The Secret Path is an atmospheric, passionate tale that sweeps you away to the lush wilderness of Costa Rica and immerses you into the life of Dr Tara Tremain as she tries to juggle a successful career, a handsome boyfriend, a well-deserved vacation, a friend’s severely sick son in serious need of medical intervention, and the one man who shattered her heart to pieces ten years ago.

The prose is smooth and seamless. The characters are altruistic, resourceful, and scarred. And the plot is a beguiling, twisty tale of life, loss, love, familial drama, friendship, deception, heartbreak, forgiveness, danger, and romance.

Overall, The Secret Path is another emotional, entertaining, enticing tale by Swan that keeps you engaged from start to finish with its beautiful depictions of island living, tantalizing adventures, and complex, romantic entanglements.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                   

 

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview Together by Christmas by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan @PGCBooks #TogetherbyChristmas #KarenSwan

#BookReview Together by Christmas by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan @PGCBooks #TogetherbyChristmas #KarenSwan Title: Together by Christmas

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Nov. 3, 2020

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 448

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Canadian bestseller Karen Swan returns with another moving, surprising and heartwarming novel for the holiday season.

When Lee first came to Amsterdam, it was with a newborn baby and a secret. Five years later, her life is approaching normal: her career as a celebrity photographer is flourishing, her son Jasper is growing up, and they are enjoying the run-up to Christmas with their tight circle of close friends.

But all this changes one morning when Lee finds a book in the basket of her bicycle – and scrawled inside it, a desperate message. Who left it for her, and why? Lee feels compelled to help and tracks down the book’s author, Sam. With an instant, undeniable connection it seems they might have a shot at a real future together.

Until her past comes calling. As the snow falls and ice thickens on the city’s canals, the secret Lee has never told resurfaces. Suddenly everything she holds dear hangs in the balance. Christmas is a time for being together – but what if the truth means she ends up alone?

Escape to the snow-covered streets of Amsterdam in this deeply romantic read, featuring twists, turns and characters you’ll fall in love with.


Review:

Atmospheric, festive, and powerful!

Together by Christmas is an absorbing, poignant, sensitive tale that takes you into the life of professional photographer Lee Fitch, a young, single mother whose main focus is on raising her son after years of shooting graphic photos in countries ravaged by atrocities and war has left her wounded by the nightmares and horrors she witnessed and endured there.

The writing is rich and emotive. The characters are troubled, scarred, supportive, endearing, and kind. And the plot is a bittersweet, at times heartwrenching tale of life, loss, love, family, friendship, perseverance, parenthood, guilt, courage, selflessness, war, new beginnings and the delightful history, culture, landscape, traditions, and unique holiday celebrations found in the Netherlands.

As most of you know I am a huge fan of Karen Swan and have read almost every novel she has ever written, and Together by Christmas is without a doubt another compelling, romantic, emotional tale by Swan but one with perhaps a little more grit, depth, layers and hard-hitting themes than we’ve possibly ever read by her before.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheHiddenBeach

#BookReview The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheHiddenBeach Title: The Hidden Beach

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Apr. 30, 2020

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

From internationally bestselling author Karen Swan comes The Hidden Beach, an addictive story of heartbreak, loyalty and hope, set in the historic city of Stockholm and along the beautiful archipelagos of the Swedish coast.

In the oldest part of Stockholm, Bell Everhurst is working as a nanny for an affluent family. Hanna and Max Von Greyerz are parents to 7-year-old Linus, and 5-year old twins Ellinor and Tilde, and Bell has been with the family for over two years.

One early Spring morning, as she’s rushing out to take the children to school, she answers the phone – and everything changes. A woman from a clinic she’s never heard of asks her to pass on the message that Hanna’s husband is awake.

Bell is confused. She clearly just saw Max walking out of the house a few minutes earlier, but the woman mentioned Hanna by name . . .

When she gets hold of her employer, the truth is revealed: Hanna’s first husband fell into a coma seven years earlier, following an accident. But now he’s awake. And life is going to change for them all.


Review:

Pensive, mysterious, and multilayered!

The Hidden Beach is a heartwarming, compelling story that sweeps you away to the idyllic archipelagos islands of Sweden and immerses you into the lives of Bell Everhurst and the Von Greyers family as their world is turned upside down when a miracle brings the past into the present and triggers a whirlwind of emotions, strains on relationships new and old, and secrets long-buried to become unearthed.

The prose is expressive and vivid. The characters are complex, confused, troubled, and intriguing. And the story is a beguiling tale of life, loss, love, familial drama, friendship, secrets, infidelity, forgiveness, heartbreak, deception, and romance.

Overall, The Hidden Beach is a thoughtful, emotive, charming tale by Swan that is absorbing, entertaining, and perfect for any sunny day.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

               

 

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview The Christmas Party by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Christmas Party by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan Title: The Christmas Party

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Nov. 1, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 474

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

The Christmas Party is a delicious, page-turning story of romance, family and secrets, by the Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan.

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible – made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past?


Review:

Beguiling, quaint, and heartwarmingly festive!

The Christmas Party is an alluring, heartfelt story that sweeps you away to the beautiful, rugged coastline of southwest Ireland in winter and immerses you into the lives of the Lorne family as they endure a great loss, accept the things they cannot change, confront the past, repair strained relationships, take chances, and embrace the future.

The prose is evocative and well turned. The characters are distressed, vulnerable, genuine, and troubled. And the story is an engaging tale about life, loss, love, grief, familial drama, community, friendship, forgiveness, nostalgia, duty, and romance.

Overall, The Christmas Party is another lovely, absorbing, magical treat by Swan that reminds us to always live life to the fullest and surround ourselves with those we love.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

               

 

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan Title: The Spanish Promise

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on May 1, 2019

Genres: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Charlotte, a wealth counsellor who knows from personal experience the complications that a sudden inheritance can bring, helps her clients navigate the emotional side effects of sudden wealth syndrome. When she is asked by Mateo Mendoza, heir to a huge Spanish estate, to fly to Madrid to help resolve an issue in his father’s will, she’s confident it will be straightforward. The timing isn’t great as Charlotte’s due to get married the following week, but once her client signs on the dotted line, Charlotte can return to her life in London and her wedding, and live happily ever after. Marrying Stephen might not fill her with excitement, but she doesn’t want to live in the fast lane anymore – safe and predictable is good.

But Carlos Mendoza’s final bequest opens up a generation of secrets, and Charlotte finds herself compelled to unravel the mystery. As Charlotte digs deeper, she uncovers the story of a family divided by Spain’s Civil War, and of a love affair across the battle lines that ended in tragedy.

And while she is consumed in the drama of the Mendozas, Charlotte’s own tragic past catches up with her, threatening to overturn everything in her life she’s worked so hard to build.


Review:

Evocative, mysterious, and incredibly enchanting!

The Spanish Promise is an alluring, mesmerizing tale predominantly set in Spain during the late 1930s, as well as present day, that takes you into the lives of both the prosperous, successful, multi-generational Fairfax and Mendoza families. But like most families with money, power, and privilege everything is not always as it seems, and behind the designer clothes and beautiful houses hides an abundance of secrets, betrayals, scandals, rivalry, conflict, and heartbreak.

The prose is seamless and eloquent. The characters are perceptive, intriguing, and scarred. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel effortlessly into a vividly satisfying tale of life, loss, family, friendship, self-discovery, regret, deception, love, duty, honour, and the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War.

The Spanish Promise is another magical, heartwarming tale by Swan that does a beautiful job of highlighting her exceptional ability to portray memorable characters, idyllic places, and historically troubling times that stay with you long after you finish the final page.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                   

 

 

Thank you to Karen Swan and PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview The Christmas Lights by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Christmas Lights by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan Title: The Christmas Lights

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Oct. 30, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

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.


Review:

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.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview The Greek Escape by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Greek Escape by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan Title: The Greek Escape

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on May 8, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

A scorching and sensational summer novel from the Globe and Mail bestselling author of The Paris Secret and The Rome Affair.

Set between the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean, The Greek Escape will leave you breathless as each twist unfolds.

Running from heartbreak, Chloe Marston leaves her old life in London for a fresh start in New York. Working at a luxury concierge company, she makes other people’s lives run perfectly, even if her own has ground to a halt. But a terrible accident forces her to step into a new role, up close and personal with the company’s most esteemed and powerful clients. Charismatic Joe Lincoln is one of them and his every wish is her command, so when he asks her to find him a secluded holiday home in the Greek Islands, she sets about sourcing the perfect retreat.

But when Tom, her ex, unexpectedly shows up in Manhattan and the stability of her new life is thrown off-balance again, Chloe jumps at the chance to help Joe inspect the holiday house. Escaping to Greece will give her the time and space to decide where her future truly lies. Tom is the man she has loved for so long but he has hurt her before – can she give him another chance? And as she draws closer to Joe, does she even want to? As magnetic as he is mysterious, there’s an undeniable chemistry between them that she can’t resist.

But whatever her heart is telling her, she’s in over her head—another client’s wife has mysteriously disappeared and seriously allegations about Joe threaten more than just her happiness. Who can she trust? And will Chloe uncover the truth in time?


Review:

Mysterious, enticing, and wickedly entertaining!

The Greek Escape is a provocative thrill ride that takes you on a journey into the life of the heartbroken, hardworking Chloe as she juggles relocation, a high-pressure career, a two-timing ex, the whims and dalliances of the rich and famous, and a cocky, demanding, handsome new client.

The prose is evocative and polished. The characters are inquisitive, ambitious, and spontaneous. The settings are exotic and picturesque. And the plot is a true guilty pleasure that’s packed with action, humour, suspense, drama, corruption, scandals, sex, and romance.

The Greek Escape is a fresh, sophisticated, addictive novel with irresistible characters that I devoured from start to finish. I’m a huge fan of Karen Swan, and this novel didn’t disappoint. It enthralled, captivated, and amused me, and I highly recommend it.

This novel is available now in some countries.

Pick up or preorder a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

             

 

 

Thank you to PGC Canada and Pan Macmillan for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

 

#BookReview #Q&A The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks

#BookReview #Q&A The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks Title: The Christmas Secret

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Nov. 4, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 478

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

They say that behind every great man, there’s a great woman, and behind London’s most powerful leaders, there stands only one — Alex Hyde, Business Coach par excellence. She’s the woman they turn to for advice and strategy when the pressure gets too much.

So when she gets a call from an esteemed whisky company in Scotland asking for her services it’s business as usual. Only, she’s never met anyone like Lochlan Burr before. CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, he’s also the son and heir of the company’s founder. He’s a maverick, an enigma, a renegade, and Alex needs to get inside his head before he brings the company to its knees. But as she tasks herself with finding a way in, she finds she’s the one being maneuvered; for once, she isn’t in control. And when she stumbles across a chance discovery that changes everything, she’s suddenly not so sure she should be.


Review:

Absorbing, enthralling, and positively addictive!

In this latest novel by Swan she sweeps us away to Isle of Islay where the people are the salt of the earth, the terrain is rugged, the peat is unique, and the whisky is smoky, smooth, and plentiful!

The prose is remarkably well turned and fluid. The characters are unique, flawed, eccentric, and lovable. And the story is an exceptionally compelling tale about life, loss, grief, war, familial dynamics, friendship, forgiveness, courage, community, happiness, love, and good Scotch.  

Alternating between the past and the present, The Christmas Secret has it all. It’s humorous and lighthearted, emotional and heartbreaking, mysterious and sweet. It grabs you from the very first page and with its wonderfully blended storyline of historical facts, snappy fiction, and delightful romance it’s truly the perfect holiday treat! 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

 

And now a little Q&A with Karen Swan:

The Christmas Secret is set mainly in Islay, Scotland. Prior to writing the novel did this locale have any personal significance for you?

Yes, my father is Scottish so I have spent much of my life in the Highlands and I love it: I was married there, my first born was christened there; it’s very much a part of me and I identify strongly as being of Scottish blood; ‘Swan’ is actually a shortening of my maiden name MacSwan MacLeod. Also, my father knows the Robertson family, whose grandfather, Sergeant Malcolm MacNeill, had the grim task of identifying the bodies of the soldiers washed ashore after the American troopship Tuscania sank. It was a devastating incident for such a tiny, rural community to have the war literally wash up on their sands like that, and tragically it was compounded just a few months later when another American troop carrier, the Otranto, sank in a collision with its own convoy just off Islay’s shores. The Tuscania tragedy was the single largest loss of American lives in one day since the Civil War and was met with national dismay back home. The centenary anniversary is coming up for both events so it felt like an opportunity to remember those who perished.

In the Christmas Secret, as well as some of your other novels, you interweave a historical event, in this case the tragic sinking of the SS Tuscania, with contemporary fiction. Do you find this harder or easier to write than your novels that are purely fictional?

I’m increasingly interested in incorporating a historical element in my stories, for it adds weight but also pathos too. It does make it more complicated though, in this case ridiculously so, as I chose to reveal the backstory through a variety of different sources and characters all of which involved different research and tones of voice. Partly I did this because I wanted the impact of what happened to be spelled out in three-hundred and sixty degrees; it also fractured the telling of the event for the reader, giving a haunting, dream-like quality to the story. I asked myself several times over the course of writing it, whether it was strictly necessary to devote some much time and energy to this thread and those characters, but I think the closing sentences of the epilogue rather sum up why it had to be done. They brought me to tears.

The Christmas Secret is a beautiful story about small-island life, love, forgiveness, community, and whisky, but Is there any sub-plot or chapter that you had to edit out because of the flow that you really wish you could have kept in?

Funnily enough, it wasn’t a matter of cutting anything out but rather, having to refrain from putting too much in. I would have liked to go in closer with some of the characters in the back-story but I had to write very lightly, taking care not to make anything too obvious or heavy-handed. The historical story could easily have overshadowed the present day story if I wasn’t careful and I had to constantly remind myself that it was there to underpin and explain the main action, not overwhelm it.

In The Christmas Secret and all your previous novels you have a strong, independent female protagonist that is often fashion savvy. Do you do this consciously or unconsciously based on your own success as a fashion editor?

Yes, I think I do really. Although I’ve moved on from that world, I still believe that fashion and how we present ourselves is an incredibly – and increasingly – important tool in how we navigate our lives. I tend to use a good sense of style as evidence of an ordered, urban, sophisticated life.

In The Christmas Secret and your previous novels you always have incredible, memorable secondary characters, such as Callum and Louise. Would you ever consider writing a novel featuring one of these characters in the lead?

I would love to, not least because sometimes – not always – I even prefer them to the main characters. There’s a little more freedom that comes with the support cast – they don’t need to be as well-behaved, or even as likeable. I think if I were to do that, it would be with Kitty in The Perfect Present. I took her very much to my heart.

In the past you have written one sequel that I know of, Summer at Tiffany’s which was the sequel to Christmas at Tiffany’s. Do you think we might see more sequels in the future or do you prefer to create new characters and fresh storylines?

It was an interesting exercise writing a sequel to Christmas At Tiffanys, not least because those characters really became very beloved to my readers and it was lovely to revisit them again. The tricky thing for my genre, however, is that the core of my stories is not the actual plot mystery but the romantic element between the characters; I really care about whether their love story feels genuine and authentic and that’s the rub: for a reader to want to turn the pages, a story must be compelling, which means creating tension and conflict; no-one wants to spend 300 pages reading about other peoples’ perfect happiness. But in order to create that necessary tension, I would have to dismantle the very relationship I had spent the previous book building up, and to me, that risks falling into ‘soap opera’ territory. If my books could be based around my characters’ jobs, rather than their love lives, it would be an enticing prospect, not least because I find most of their jobs fascinating: Flora Sykes, the fine art agent for example? She could be my equivalent to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon! Why not? I can see it!

 

As many of you already know I am a huge fan of Karen Swan and it’s an enormous honour to have her participate in a Q&A for this blog. I also must thank PGC for their continued support and for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

 

And if you live in the GTA don’t miss your opportunity to attend a “Night with Karen Swan” hosted by Publishers Group Canada.

 

© Alexander James

OAKVILLE, ON
Tuesday, November 14 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Oakville Public Library
Central Branch • Tickets on sale now

KITCHENER, ON
Wednesday, November 15 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Kitchener Public Library
85 Queen Branch • Registration required

WHITBY, ON
Thursday, November 16 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Whitby Public Library
Central Branch • Registration required

 

For more information on a “Night with Karen Swan” check out the events newsletter HERE

 

 

 

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