Book Review | The Christmas Lights | By Karen Swan





Holiday Read

The Christmas Lights
December 2018, and free-spirited influencers Bo Loxley and her partner Zac are living a life of wanderlust, traveling 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 14-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.




My thoughts 




Narrative and Plot  






The Christmas Lights is the kind of book that you pick when you need the overall holiday vibe in your book but has much meatier content than what you find in a holiday book. The narrative lends itself to building the mystery around two different timelines. One in the present, and the other set in the past. As the story progresses, the past and the present blend in creating a history repeats itself kind of atmosphere.

The plot is intricately woven so as to keep you in and out of the mystery at the same time. If you look closely, you as a reader can figure out the mystery and feel smart about it or you could choose to ignore the little easter eggs and follow till the end and figure out the suspense with the main characters. 






Characters and Conflicts 









All the characters in the book were layered and nuanced. While Zac had his charm and influencer persona on the surface, at times he managed to surprise you with his insights. Bo, being the central character was conflicted by her choices and yet she couldn’t pinpoint where it all went wrong. This uncertainty in the main character makes her much more relatable despite her being in this absurd situation.

Anders with his caring demeanour and hard exterior makes up for a brooding hero. But the story reveals there is much more to him than that.
Signy both in the past and present was a force of nature. 

Also worth mentioning is the social media influencer life that was portrayed in the book. It gives you insight into the carefully curated picture which isn’t always that perfect.

The one quip, I have with the plot is that it could have spent a little bit more time between the main characters in order to develop the romance. This felt abrupt given the short amount of time they had spent together. 














Overall, The Christmas Lights is an atmospheric holiday read that you can curl up with if you’re into a little bit of mystery and suspense. 








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