Book reviews: The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan
The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

Alex Hyde is a young woman to be reckoned with…

An executive coach with an unmatched reputation, she is the person who helps stressed bosses through the pressures of big business.

Alex can change the way they think, how they operate and even turn around the fortunes of their companies. But has she finally met her match?

Light the fire and settle back in your favourite armchair because the queen of romance Karen Swan, author of Christmas Under the Stars, is back with another winter warming, cuddle-up-close Christmas special.

This year we are swept away across the sea to the beautiful, rugged Hebridean island of Islay where we find peat, Scotch whisky, crumbling stone walls, roaming red deer… and a smouldering time-slip tale of tragedy and loss, revelation and redemption.

Alex Hyde’s waiting list is months’ long but she can’t turn down the unorthodox but highly lucrative crisis call that comes her way a few weeks before Christmas.

Lochlan Farquhar, CEO of Kentallen Distilleries on the island of Islay, is a maverick, an enigma and a renegade, and since his father’s death he seems to be hell-bent on destruction.

Alex has been paid a considerable sum to get inside his head before he brings down the company, and she is confident that it should be business as usual. She can do this job in her sleep.

But when she gets to Islay, with the winter snows falling, Alex finds herself out of her comfort zone. For once, she’s not in control. Lochlan, though darkly charismatic and devastatingly attractive, is also unpredictable and destructive, and her usual methods are not having any effect.

With Christmas and her deadline fast approaching, Alex must win his trust and find a way to close this deal.

But as she pulls ever closer to him, boundaries become blurred, loyalties loosen and Alex finds herself faced with an impossible choice.

And when she stumbles across a chance discovery that echoes down the years, she realises that nothing and no-one is as they first seemed.

Swan is a master of big, beautiful storytelling; her warm, wise and witty novels always succeed in capturing the very essence of life and love in all their timeless and compelling complexities.

The Christmas Secret has an intriguing mystery at its core as we weave seamlessly between two sets of lives, a century apart, but bound together by a heartbreaking secret.

In trademark style, Swan presents us with a cast of sparkling characters… from sassy, stylish but endearingly vulnerable Alex to the luscious Lochlan, a man with hidden depths and a troubled mind.

Funny, gloriously romantic, high on emotion and rich in real history, this is THE romance this Christmas. Don’t miss it!

(Pan, paperback, £7.99)