Wednesday 2 December 2020

Christmas Island by Natalie Normann Book Review

 It's December.

That means it really is safe to talk about Christmas now right?

So I'm kicking this festive month off with a fantastic review for Natalie Normann's latest novel. Christmas Island.

In the bleak midwinter…

A really frosty wind is making Holly’s life absolutely miserable

After all the years of hard work it took Londoner Holly Greene to become a doctor, now it could all be taken away and she only has herself to blame. She’s retreating to her brother’s rustic home on an island off the coast of Norway to lick her wounds. Only, it’s the middle of winter and icy slush plus endless darkness isn’t exactly the cheery, festive getaway she had imagined.

Nearly stumbling off the edge of a cliff in the dark, Holly is saved by Fr√ły, a yellow-eyed cat of fearsome but fluffy proportions, and his owner – grouchy, bearded recluse, Tor. Tor has his own problems to face but the inexplicable desire to leave a bag of freshly baked gingerbread men on Holly’s doorstep is seriously getting in the way of his hermit routine.

First of all, the front cover. 

It screams love and all things Christmas. 

I felt an instant need to delve in and read.

Cosy up in front of a fire and discover Christmas the Norwegian way…full of romance, cosy traditions and hygge!

The story begins with Holly (our lovely, not quite anti-Christmas protagonist) as she arrives on the island to stay with her brother and his family over the festive period. She makes a rather dramatic entrance, nearly falling off a cliff until she's saved by the local hermit and his exceptionally large cat.

What transpires after that is something really quite heart-warming.

Both Holly and Tor - who really isn't a hermit after all - end up being just what each other needed, when they weren't even aware of what they required in the first place.

Told from both Holly and Tor's points of view, there is a great mixture of humour and emotion. Told with great care, I really liked how both character's back stories were weaved into the present day, adding a real depth to the tale.

There is a slow but necessary build to their friendship/romance, giving me all the feels as it progressed further.

Call it kindness, call it Christmas, but Holly’s arrival means midwinter has never looked less bleak.

This book is an instant boost of happiness and comfort.

Set in Norway, it is truly immersive. I felt an instant need to get away to this island myself.

The descriptions of the scenery, the food and everything in-between were fascinating and painted a picture perfectly. The traditions and cultures came alive over the pages.

I have to admit that actually my favourite character throughout the book was in fact Tor's cat Froy. He was like their own personal matchmaker, there to ease the tensions.

Christmas Island is a book that will have you smiling ear to ear and will definitely leave you wanting more.

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