Christmas at Claridges - Karen Swan
Source: Review copy courtesy of author.
‘This was where her dreams drifted to if she didn’t blot her nights out with drink; this was where her thoughts settled if she didn’t fill her days with chat. She remembered this tiny, remote foreign village on a molecular level and the sight of it soaked into her like water into sand, because this was where her old life had ended and her new one had begun.’
Portobello – home to the world-famous street market, Notting Hill Carnival and Clem Alderton. She’s the queen of the scene, the girl everyone wants to be or be with. But beneath the morning-after makeup, Clem is keeping a secret, and when she goes too far one reckless night she endangers everything – her home, her job and even her adored brother’s love.
Portofino – a place of wild beauty and old-school glamour, and where a neglected villa has been bought by a handsome stranger. He wants Clem to restore it for him and it seems like the answer to all her problems – except that Clem has been there once before and vowed, for her own protection, never to return .
As soon as you open up Christmas at Claridges you are straight away gripped by a heart fastening prologue that makes you want to rip the book apart quickly to find out what the hells happened.
Oh how I did love this book. I actually didn't really know what to expect from it, I thought it would be a sort of Christmassy, fun, chick lit read, but it's not it's so much more. It's dark, dangerous, dramatic, unbelievably tragic, romantic, family oriented and basically fabulous. I was so impressed that only three quarters of the way through I was that blown away and excited by it I e-mailed author Karen Swan to tell her so. I also told her that since becoming a book reviewer I read books differently than I did. I can't fall into a book as deep as I'd like half of the time because you're always aware of the review building up in your head or you're over reading things. (Book reviewers/bloggers you so know what I mean) Saying that though doesn't mean I don't love reading as much as I did, I do, I just sometimes miss being submerged into something without having to think. Christmas at Claridges had me submerged so deep that half of the time I couldn't breathe. I deliberately took my time reading it as I knew once it finished I would have one hell of a book hangover. When I finally did finishing I was well and truly blown away, I honestly couldn't believe how much could be in one book, the thought into that plot was beyond impressive and Karen Swan has shown herself to be one serious writer with one phenomenal imagination.
I urge you all if you haven't already got a copy of download or order one. I assure you, you won't be disappointed. Don't think because it's a Christmas read that you can't read it, you can! Heart warming, inspiring, breathtaking book.