Name: The Christmas Lights
Author: Karen Swan
Number of Pages: 480 (Paperback)
Published: November 1st 2018 by Pan
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
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.
The Christmas Lights takes us to Norway in a dual narrative.
In the present day Bo and Zac, two internet famous adventurers travel to Norway to experience life on a remote shelf farm owned by Signy. Bo has lived a well-documented life, followed by over 9 million people online as one half of the Wanderlusters, but her fame attracts unexpected attention, and she struggles with this alongside her growing realisation that her life is hardly her own any more, for every moment must be captured and publicised for the fans.
In 1936 Signy is a young girl venturing out for the first time to work as a milkmaid with her sister and some friends. It sounds idyllic, freedom in the countryside with family and companions, yet even in this setting life can take an unexpected turn, as young Signy soon learns.
This book was really atmospheric, from the wintry setting of the fjords to the unique shelf farm (I soon found myself looking these up online!), to the secrets and dangers lurking within seemingly innocent lives.
The writing really brings the situation and the characters to life. Everyone has their secrets, and watching the plot unfold in this tale of danger, tragedy, hope and love was a really nice way to end my reading year.