Wednesday 12 October 2022

Guest Review: Keeping a Christmas Promise by Jo Thomas

Four friends
Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .

One promise
Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they've lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.

A life-changing adventure
They didn't count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.

But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend's wish? And can Freya's own dreams come true, this Christmas?

Review: I love this time of year, when all the Christmas books begin to appear and I can escape into a world of snow and festivities even though it’s still warm and sunny outside. I know that one of my favourite books of the season will be from Jo Thomas; I am always sure of a trip to somewhere exciting, with lots of fun and delicious food. I was especially looking forward to reading this story as it is set in Iceland, a country I have long wanted to visit.

The story concerns three friends, Freya, Meg and Joanna, who are visiting Iceland the week before Christmas in memory of their dear late friend on what would have been her 40th birthday. One of her biggest wishes was to see the Northern Lights, and the trio are determined to fulfil that wish on her behalf. What they didn’t expect was that their trip would be longer than planned as they become trapped in a small village by a terrific storm, an avalanche blocking the road back to their luxurious hotel and spa. Luckily, they are taken in by local farmer, Pétur. When it becomes apparent that the friends will be spending Christmas in the village, they join in with the preparations and learn how the community pulls together to help each other when times are hard. While experiencing
a very different side of Iceland from the usual tourist sites, and learning a lot about themselves into the bargain, it seems that romance may be in the air for at least one of them.

I was completely captivated by this story. Jo Thomas has, in my view, surpassed herself with this wonderful tale of a group of friends discovering an Iceland which is never seen by possibly the majority of visitors, and learning so much about themselves and the world in which we live. There is happiness and sadness along the way as they come to appreciate their surroundings rather than worry about when they will get home. I loved the stories that Pétur told about elves and trolls and the local customs. There are also strong messages about the importance of considering the environment. With Freya being a chef, the reader is treated to some mouthwatering descriptions of dishes she is learning from the local women, and some interesting ways of preparing food using natural resources. This is definitely a different festive story and one which I can highly recommend.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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