Monday 28 January 2019

Book Review: The Christmas Lights (Romance)

The Christmas Lights
Karen Swan 

I had grand plans to finish all my Christmas themed books before Christmas but time got away from me and now here I am at the end of January reviewing my first Christmas read.
I have more Christmas books to read and I will get them all done before Easter (that's my new plan). And so a late New Years resolution has been made; this year I will have all my Christmas themed books read and reviewed by 25th December.

Publisher:  Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 30th October 2018
Pages: 467
RRP: $29.99
Format Read: Trade paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

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 Christmas Lights is narrated in dual time lines and moves from present day, with Instagram influencers Bo, Zac and their photographer come manager, Lenny, back to 1936 with Signy, a 14 year old milk maid, in the highlands of Norway.

Signy’s story is told over one summer, a coming of age story, and the lead up to the events that would shape the rest of Signy’s life.
Bo and Zac move from the heat of the South Pacific to their next adventure, a month on a cliff farm in Norway. The farm is owned by an elderly Signy and her Grandson Anders.

Bo and Anders are the main characters although you would think it would be Bo and Zac’s story as they are the Instagram couple. We do get Bo and Zac’s story from Bo’s point of view. Bo is running from a past tragedy believing this wandering life is exactly what she wants, although it is starting to wear thin. The fame means they never have a ‘real’ moment to themselves, everything is staged. Their whole life is out there for everyone to see. With Lenny always behind the camera, sometimes Bo feels like the third wheel.

Anders is enigmatic and detached. Is it their lifestyle he hates or has he hidden demons he wants kept locked away?

The story is fast paced and energetic but the underlying details are slow to surface, dispatched sparingly to keep the reader eager for more.

Swan knows how to create atmosphere. The cold was chilling. I felt it like it was real even though it is summer as I read and an astounding 38 . Swan has the knack of throwing her readers out into the chill air over and over so there is no way you can forget how bitterly cold it is.

I really enjoyed this Christmas themed romance with added mystery and suspense. I liked the insight into the world of Instagram influencers and the price of all that fame. With mentions of online trolls and people being jealous and mean spirited with cruel remarks and jibes.
The beautiful setting of the cliff farms of Norway with views of waterfalls and the spellbinding Northern Lights is all brought to life on the page.

Highly Recommended.

My Rating  5/5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

*This review is: 
  Letter 'C' in the AtoZ challenge 

photo credit - Goodreads
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 in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. 
Her books include Christmas at Tiffany's, Summer at Tiffany's, The Perfect Present, Christmas in the Snow, The Summer Without You, The Paris Secret, and Christmas Under the Stars.  

How did your Christmas reading go? Do you still have a pile of Christmas themed books yet to be read?


  1. This sounds great, I like the sound of Christmas themed romance with mystery plus with Instagram in the mix too. Nice review!

    1. I really liked the Instagram inclusion also. It’s the first book I’ve read with mentions of Instagram posts, which is a big part of our lives now.

  2. This sounds good. I love Christmas books, but I quit after about January 3rd, whether or not I've read all the ones that were on my list. I'll pick this up again starting sometimes in November.

  3. This is definitely going to be on this years festive book list.

  4. Lovely review. I'll look out for it at the end of the year when I'm back reading Christmas books.

    1. Thank you. I will probably be still catching up on last years Christmas reads. :)

  5. I’ll have to keep this in mind for next holiday!

  6. This looks like such a great read, thanks for sharing!

  7. woot -excellent job - and A grade for your C book ;)

  8. I love the sound of this one and that cover!

  9. love your line of thinking! I have 2 I hadn’t gotten to yet and why not read them now?! No need to wait to December! 😉🙌🏻

  10. Great review! This sounds really interesting.

  11. Sounds wonderful. Great cover!

  12. Great review, this is the first time I have heard or seen this book and it looks and sounds like an amazing and beautiful book as well. I'm really glad you fully enjoyed this book, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.