Christmas Island by Natalie Normann
Publication Date : November 30th 2020
Publisher : One More Chapter
Genre : Contemporary / Holiday Romance
Pages : 340
Cosy up in front of a fire and discover Christmas the Norwegian way…full of romance, cosy traditions and hygge!
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 Frøy, 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.
Call it kindness, call it Christmas, but Holly’s arrival means midwinter has never looked less bleak.
*** Note : I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to One More Chapter ***
Christmas Island was cozy romance that revolved around Holly and Tor retreating from the drama of city life to an island off the coast of Norway and finding love and spirit of holiday. It was about Norwegian customs and traditions, holiday and food, community, friendship, family and love.
Writing was easy to follow, steady paced with festive feel. It was written in third person narrative from Holly and Tor’s alternative POV. Setting of the island off the coast of Norway was amazing.
It started with Holly getting away from the drama of her life in London and taking her brother’s offer to spend holiday at his house in Norwegian island. On arriving the island she didn’t expect it to be so dark, gray and icy. It was exactly opposite of festive getaway she was looking for. In trying to find her brother’s house without any street lights she took wrong turn and nearly stumbled off the cliff. Luckily, Frøy- black Norwegian forest cat and his grouchy, bearded, reclusive owner- Tor, saved her from falling off the cliff. Tor was on island to get away from his own life problem. Holly and Tor’s many unexpected encounters, slowly and gradually, made their stay on the bleak island interesting, uplifting, heart-warming, and what they least expected, romantic.
All characters were likable, realistic and relatable. I loved islanders and their friendship with each other and Holly’s brother, Jack, who was amazing chef. It was lovely close knit community and they took care of each other. They welcomed Holly with like their own. They also welcomed Tor, even though for most weeks he was reclusive and was living hermit life. It was interesting to read their life on Island and their view towards all things modern and old fashioned.
Holly was lively, chatty, and fun. Even with unpredictable future and not getting any news from hospital about her job, she lived in present and enjoyed holiday and her stay on Island fully. Festival, food, market before Christmas, and Tor kept her distracted from the hospital news and anxiety. It was lovely to read how her views towards island changed as she spent more time there.
Tor was lovely. He was rude and grumpy at first but we know there was more to him from the beginning. He was architect, working from his rented home on Island, living lonely hermit life with his cat. But when he met Holly, he started socializing more to spend more time with her. she made him get over with what made him reclusive in first place.
My most favourite character was Frøy who won everybody’s heart and even mine. He was adorable, more social than Tor, and really different from normal cat. He brought book to life. Jack’s family was lovely and It was great to know more about Holly and Tor’s family through their conversations.
Romance was slow and drama free. It was lovely to read their growing friendship and relationship in short period of time. Both Holly and Tor were developed characters and they knew their relationship was going to last till the end of the holiday and at the end they were going to go back to their city life. They both handled it maturely and without any drama. I was curious to know what they will do at the end.
What I loved most was Norwegian folklore, tradition, customs, food, Norwegian words for traditional food and their meaning, how they celebrate Christmas, and festive and atmospheric description of island. Holly and Tor’s fishing trips were interesting. I didn’t know how fishermen catch crabs and lobsters until I read it in this book. What happened to both Holly and Tor was a mystery and wasn’t revealed until near climax which made the story more intriguing.
Climax was predictable. I liked how characters reacted to it and handled it maturely. It was lovely to read beach party islanders hosted for Holly’s see off. End was great.
Why 4 stars-
The story was heart-warming but not as uplifting as I was hoping for and was a little slow in second half. Chemistry between Holly and Tor was okay.
Overall, Christmas Island was cozy, heart-warming Christmassy read with the hygge feel, rich in Norwegian setting, tradition and food. If you love less drama and slow romance you will like this.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my review, have you read this book already or any book by the same author. Have you read a book about Norwegian folklore, tradition or customs?
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