Despite it most definitely being the season for Christmas Books – I still have to be in certain mood to read them. This was my Christmas Eve Book – I decided that I needed to adopt the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve – and my Fiance obliged by picking out something new for me to read as well. Christmas Lights by Karen Swan – immediately struck me with the cover.. Northern Lights, snow, pretty trees… everything a Winter themed book needed and thoroughly encouraged me into the Christmas spirit as I read it.
The book is set in two periods of time. There’s the present, which features Bo and Zac (and a third wheel known as Lenny) who have just left sunny climates to embark on their Christmas adventure in the Norwegian Fjords. Then there is also the past – which focuses on Signy, the elderly lady who owns the shelf farm that Bo and Zac are staying on. (Shelf meaning literally, a farm, on a ledge, in a mountain range…) Signy’s back story is told through the various flashbacks to her past as we also follow Bo and Zac who are navigating a rather…rocky… future. Along the way we are also introduced to snippets of Bo’s past and what has brought her to become one of a pair of ‘Wanderlusters.’
I have to confess – I was so gripped by Bo and Zac’s story that I skipped a lot of Signy’s. It didn’t make the book any ‘more’ or less’ intriguing and enthralling, it just meant that I got to the conclusion a lot quicker. I don’t feel that I was deprived of finding out why Signy is the person she is today, but I just think that the underlying back story wasn’t really needed and the book wouldn’t be lost without it. Those who like jumping between two time frames will enjoy it I’m sure, but the more impatient of us will find that it’s okay to skip…
I think it was a well written book, great characters and fantastic research has gone into the remoteness of the location, ensuring that the reader really feels the chill, the isolation and the difficulty in just getting a loaf of bread when the weather is bad! Karen Swan’s previous career as a fashion editor also shines through and gives authenticity to what is being conveyed from the pages.
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