THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, by Karen Swan, Pan Macmillan

Out November, 2018

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.


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

YA! I was so pleased to get this book!  I previously interviewed Karen Swan, the interview is here. I had so much fun getting to know her.  She is one fantastic writer.

Sooo, like all her books, lol, this one was huge. I did not read it in one sitting, but savored it over the span of two weeks. Without a doubt, Karen Swan will remain one of my favorites and here is why.

I love her complex and complicated characters, the multi-layer personalities that she develops perfectly, fleshing out all aspects of their lives and making them real. She delves into their souls exposing all their warts and flaws.  Because of their realness, the reader is drawn to them, perhaps identifying with one or more of their amazing traits that makes them so life-like.

Next, she creates these amazing settings, outlining a world based on reality either through her own travel experiences or from one beautiful imagination.  From the outline, she fills in certain aspects and describes them to the reader in such a way that you are suddenly standing there, right beside her, seeing what she’s created first-hand.

Finally, she puts her layered characters into her newly formed setting and gives them the chance to love this new world she’s created before pulling the rug out from under their feet causing them to stumble, trip and fall flat on their faces in that hidden mud puddle of intrigue. Just when they’re drowning and about to give up, she throws them a rock and watches them sink further into the despair of their situation before finally throwing them that rope of resolution that they so desperately need.

So you think that would be enough, but nope. She adds a darker side, one of intrigue or mystery… Talk about a roller coaster ride.

Of course this varies from book to book and how she does all this is what makes her writing style so unique and beautiful.  I would probably say, in my opinion, that this book is more about the journey and the depth that the human spirit goes before being struck by the honest reality of its situation, a realization often caused by a brilliant moment of reckoning. So this book is also about her character’s personal growth. Of course, there’s a whole lot more about this book that I could go into, but I’ll let you, the reader, discover those things for yourselves.  You won’t be disappointed about Karen Swan’s latest book. Like her many characters, she’s a strong and resilient writer with an amazing insight into her craft.

Here’s my interview with Karen Swan

Here’s more about Karen Swan

  I give this book:

five star rating

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.