We’re delighted to be sharing Elena’s thoughts about Christmas Island by Natalie Normann on the Random Things Tours.
In the bleak midwinter…
A really frosty wind is making Holly’s life absolutely miserable
After all the years of hard work it took Londoner Holly Greene to become a doctor, now it could all be taken away and she only has herself to blame. She’s retreating to her brother’s rustic home on an island off the coast of Norway to lick her wounds. Only, it’s the middle of winter and icy slush plus endless darkness isn’t exactly the cheery, festive getaway she had imagined.
Nearly stumbling off the edge of a cliff in the dark, Holly is saved by Frøy, a yellow-eyed cat of fearsome but fluffy proportions, and his owner – grouchy, bearded recluse, Tor. Tor has his own problems to face but the inexplicable desire to leave a bag of freshly baked gingerbread men on Holly’s doorstep is seriously getting in the way of his hermit routine.
Call it kindness, call it Christmas, but Holly’s arrival means midwinter has never looked less bleak.
My love of all things Nordic continues with this fantastic book, Christmas Island, set on a quiet Norwegian island over the festive period.
Holly goes to the island, where her brother Jack lives, to have some time to herself and to hopefully give her clarity with regards to what she should do about her life and career. We are given snippets of information about the reasons for her escape early on in the book and the fact that she is a doctor.
Arriving in the dark and trying to find her way to Jack’s, she is rescued from a cliff edge by the mysterious bearded Tor, and his cat Frøy. She takes Tor’s offer to stay at his for the night until she can see more clearly and locate where she is supposed to be staying, all the while finding Tor to be a strange hermit who hides behind his beard and from the prying eyes of the other islanders. We also get little bits of information as to how he has ended up alone on the island and what he is escaping from.
As time goes on Holly and Tor find themselves drawn to each other and I desperately wanted them to find happiness with each other as they had both been through so much.
The descriptions of the bitter, bleak winter and island life are breath-taking and intriguing and the descriptions of the lovely sweet Norwegian cakes and treats made my mouth water!
My favourite character though has to be Frøy who in many ways is more like a dog than a cat!
The author makes everything sound so inviting and festive, comforting and warm.
The other islanders all look out for each other in such a lovely way and the tension between the two main characters is just the icing on the cake!
I found I cared immensely about each of them and each time I put Christmas Island down I found I couldn’t wait to read what happens next to them.
Natalie Normann is a Norwegian writer with almost sixty books to her name. She mostly writes historical romance in Norwegian. Summer Island is a contemporary romance set in Norway, and her first book in English. Twitter @natalienormann1