Festive Book Review: Christmas In The Snow by Karen Swan

Imagine This: You are in your thirties––and as one rival puts it, single, lonely, bitter. You are the only female president in a male-dominated environment. You are a workaholic. The only home you know is your office. It’s always jetting to have a meeting in Zurich, having lunch with some potential investors in Paris, and reading the Financial Times on a flight to Vienna. All in one day.

At the peak of your fast-paced career as a hedgie, you are about to make it to the board––the peak that blunts all other peaks, and standing in your way is just this one account you’d have to secure. Except these clients are Chinese and traditional, so although they see, your brilliant pitches and you nursing the strains in your neck every time you curtsy, they are not moved the slightest.

So when on a flight to meet with these clients at Zurich, you encounter a devastatingly handsome guy who you would love to ram against a wall and do all sorts of dirty to. Yet all you can think of is, I can’t afford to be distracted.

Zurich was good. Fun. The meeting with the clients went well. You’re back in London, thinking what happens in Switzerland, stays in Switzerland.

Until a work crisis leaves you haunted by your immediate past. And suddenly all you have worked so hard to achieve is about to fall into the hands of this immediate past. But there’s no way you are going to allow Immediate Past to shatter all you have worked for, you are never going down without a fight. Only the universe can’t think of a right timing for you to receive a call from Swiss police…

And suddenly, you have more skeletons (meant literally) to deal with this Christmas than a one-night-stand turned messy.

Allegra Fisher’s dilemma summed up for your enthralment.  

I have never really been a fan of festive holiday reads. I am terrified to open them because if I do end up not liking them so much it would put a damper on my festive mood.  But… but who am I kidding? You sensed a ‘but’ even before I started this review…

I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this book so, so, so much! So you know in my review I’d be yelling at you to go tell the nearest Barnes and Nobles shop that if they do not have it they should contact their insurance company since they rarely do(because you would be slamming your head against the glass windows)!
(I actually snorted when I read the blurb, then flipped the book to see Karen Swan’s name big and red on it, then I knew I was going to fucking like the way Karen presented an old storyline) I mean, who hasn’t read a book blurb about dark, family secrets and voiced teasingly, “Ooh, spooky.”? But the way Karen wrote this was off the hook! Dark, family secrets my arse! This book was way more than something old. It was something old made refreshingly new and leaving the reader to free-fall into uneasiness and wonder, ‘Oh, when do I break my spine yet?”. Amazing old storyline with so many twists and turns (most reviewers use these two words lightly but I do not) you are marvelled all the way through. And isn’t it amazing a book about dark, family secrets isn’t all about (not-so) dark family secrets? A star! ──

(I watched the second instalment to that Spartan movie and I have always fantasized about rough sex––I am human I have needs too!––with cold-blooded ice-princess women) I loved, loved Allegra Fisher. Never have I wanted a character to pick me so badly since watching Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There’s something so sexy about women who have it all under control and are fiercely independent and won’t settle for less (or even settle at all!)… but sometimes I find that majority of my audience are women and do not understand a thing I am saying at all(?) You would love her! Love how she’s a die-hard feminist and wouldn’t stand for the slightest discrimination at her workplace or anywhere (much like you!). Love her whiplash attitude and how brutally blunt she is. Even if you do not, you would understand her reasons for being who she is and show some show sympathy towards her (as I show some sympathy towards you). It’s just so fun that you realize everything she does is what someone who is totally like her would do and no action of hers is really out-of-place. You would realize Karen Swan really did her What Would Allegra Fisher Do? Homework well. A star to the characterization. ── ★★

I love that this book is out of the norm of festive reads. You know, I pictured Karen Swan sitting in that Festive Reads conventional train with her laptop and jumping out when that train was always going there (––no stress on the word, you would have noted the difference if I meant, ‘there’). And I was thrilled she jumped out of that train to produce something totally different! A star to being a nonconformist and succeeding at that! ── ★★★

Oh, the other characters in this book? You might give up thinking there can be no perfect book! (But if you already think there is a perfect book why don’t you pick this title and rate it again when Karen releases another?) All the characters played roles in synchrony to help this title achieve a solid, unifying plot! You would love Isobel, the sister who criticizes Allegra for not owning a toaster and not being homely. You would love Cinzy, the personal stylist who always silently tells Allegra to dress like a woman (with ruffles and feathers––Allegra’s worst fears) with her (Cinzy’s) choices for her. You would love Maasi, the billionaire Italian who went to Harvard yet makes millions out of a shocking trade and gives salient advice from the words spilling out of his mouth at rate of a thousand per minute. There’s also Pasha who’s as thick-headed as the bottle blonde wife of a millionaire would be. Pierre, who reminds you of the boss you admire so much. Lots and lots of characters I really wished I could go on and on about. (But if you corner me too much I would… thanks for your persistence) Julia, Allegra’s Alzheimer’s mum. Barry, Julia’s nurse. And other characters you would love to hate like Sam*. A star to all the characters. ── ★★★★

Humor––sometimes laugh-out-loud, most times find-what-you-should-laugh-out-loud-about. This book isn’t what I’d tag a downright laugh-out-loud read (and you know how particular I am about humour in a title). But I can tell you it’s a downright suspenseful book. I really did take a slight hatred to Karen for this feature. I mean, what’s a book that could give you coronary thrombosis when such disorder isn’t genetic in your family? I don’t quite understand why an author would put so much effort in making your heart stop beating when she needs you to revere the ending of her novel to pieces. It’s not how Karen drops an OMG Moment in this title. It’s how she presents the OMG Moment that makes the OMG Moment actually say an OMG to its OMG Moment. A star! ── ★★★★★

Yet if I do give this book a four/five star-rating you would be so shocked. Because it’s a six/five star-read (and please I have had enough education to assure you this grading oversight is an emphasis of how phenomenal this book is!)

Karen Swan’s latest, Christmas in the Snow is available on amazon. (And you know I am only providing the link just in case B&N in your area runs out of copies AND YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH FUEL TO DRIVE TO ANOTHER STATE TO GET IT).

I recommend this book to anyone who loves not only a good book (because that would be the biggest understatement of the year for this title) but a goooood, goooood book. Anyone who wants something adrenalin-pumping should grab this title too. And just anyone, anyone who wants to read a book about dark family secrets that actually have dark family secrets alongside a sub-plot that brutally competes with a main plot to thrill the reader. Plus if you are ski demon this is your perfect book.

Hurrah (I find this more bourgeois-irritating than ‘hurray’)! I am so glad this book ended 2014 for me. My work not done here. Off to post my review on goodreads.

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