Firstly, do not be misled by the title – this is a book for all seasons!

Over the last couple of years Ms Swan has released two books a year, one in the summer and another in the late autumn/ run up to Christmas. In 2015 we had ‘Summer at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Christmas on Primrose Hill’, in 2016 we were gifted with ‘The Paris Secret’ and ‘Christmas Under the Stars’. These are thoroughly enjoyable, easy to read page-turners, which are just as wonderful to read on the beach in the sunshine, or snuggled up in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate. If you like to watch ‘Notting Hill’, or, ‘Love, Actually’, I think that you will love reading these books. Each one provided me with that age old dilemma – the urge to find out what happens next and the desperation to make the book last as long as possible. There are twists and turns, love, drama, heartbreak, humour and so much more in each one. ‘Christmas Under the Stars’ is no exception.

In ‘Christmas Under the Stars’ Swan transports her readers effortlessly to the ski resort of Banff, high in the Rockies, and thrusts them into the lives of Meg & Mitch, who are living their dream life supported by their  close friends Lucy & Tuck. This is a fast paced story full of energy, mirrored by the snowboarding undercurrent – there is no temptation to ‘just skip on a page or two’, the pace is maintained throughout. The emphasis throughout the book is on human emotion, changing relationships, and the realisation that what you can see is not necessarily what you are actually seeing.

Swan builds the story eloquently, offering enough details to tell the story, but not so many that the rreaders own imagination becomes redundant; she works with her reader rather than for them. I know that each person who has read this book will have their own, very clear, picture of Meg’s chalet, but that each imagined chalet will be warm, cosy and homely, no matter how it is furnished (with the exception of Meg’s own room – the decor of which is is integral to the story). This is entirely down to  Swan’s talent for building a picture without offering every detail – you get a ‘feeling’ as opposed to a definitive “it is”.

Ms Swan has a knack for changing her writing style to reflect her characters, their locations, and the situations they encounter. As the story moves from Banff to Vancouver, so the tone of writing changes – where Banff in winter was warm, friendly, homely, Vancouver in July is cold, stark and detached  to reflect the difference in the lifestyle of Meg and her sister Ronnie. She is able to create a scene of high drama and a tender love scene with the same attention detail, ‘edge of the seat’ moments mingled with raw human emotion, hints of budding romance with a fuzzy glow… nothing is neglected, and all are sensitively narrated.

‘Christmas Under the Stars’ takes the reader on a journey, focusing essentially on relationships, how they grow, change and develop; the effects of time and space, and that nothing is quite as it seems – love really can be found in the unlikeliest of places. This book made me laugh and cry, it had me on the edge of my seat, and left me looking forward to the release of ‘The Rome Affair’ due for release in June. If you have never read a book by Karen Swan I really do think that you should give them a go, starting with’Christmas Under the Stars’. 

Also by Karen Swan:

  • Players
  • Primal Donna
  • Christmas at Tiffany’s
  • The Perfect Present (one of my personal favourite books by Karen Swan)
  • Christmas at Claridges
  • The Summer Without You
  • Christmas in the Snow
  • Summer at Tiffany’s
  • Christmas on Primrose Hill
  • The Paris Secret
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