Author: Karen Swan
Published by: Pan Macmillan on Oct. 17, 2023
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 9/10
Snowed in for the holidays…
It’s three days before Christmas and just starting to snow… Against her better judgement, Libby Pugh has been persuaded by her best friend to stop in on their university reunion on her way back from a wedding in North Yorkshire with her boyfriend, Max.
The host is Archie Templeton, the playboy of their group, who has finally inherited his father’s title and estate – even if the latter is more stately heap than palace. Libby is surprised at how good it feels to catch up with old. The night is a great success but when they come to leave, the road is now impassable and she and Max are given a bed for the night.
At first being snowed in with old friends is rather lovely – they spend he next day is spent in high spirits as they wait for the local farmer to clear the snow. But as the hours pass and he doesn’t come, everyone grows restless. Christmas is two days away and everyone has plans, other places to be. Then the power goes out . . .
By the fireside and by candlelight, the old friends must hunker down together as they await help. They reminisce about times past, good and bad. But as the cracks in their relationships, old and new, start to show, Libby is confronted with a truth she has long tried to deny . . .
Quaint, mysterious, and heartfelt!
Christmas by Candlelight is an alluring, compelling tale that takes you into the life of Libby Pugh, a young, successful lawyer who, after keeping a distance from her university roommates for the past nine years, excepts an invitation for a brief reunion-like dinner at Archie’s isolated country estate only to find herself snowed in shortly after she arrives with no power, no connection with the outside world, and a few days with nothing to do but confront secrets and hurts from the past, and finally acknowledge and accept the feelings that have been brewing for years.
The prose is vivid and expressive. The characters are flawed, witty, and intelligent. And the plot, using flashbacks and a back-and-forth style, is an enticingly nostalgic tale full of secrets, lies, friendship, tension, chemistry, attraction, tender moments, strong emotions, self-reflection, relationship dynamics, and love.
Overall, Christmas by Candlelight is another absorbing, uplifting, festive tale by Swan that does a brilliant job of highlighting her exceptional ability to create endearing, multilayered characters, idyllic wintery settings, and engaging storylines that thoroughly captivate from start to finish.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.