Wednesday, 12 August 2015

HI Readathon: The First Christmas Without You by Michelle Betham

Reviewed by Louise Wykes

A story of love and hope at Christmas, The First Christmas Without You is an emotional and poignant novella. A truly magical Lapland fairytale…

Jessie Collins has always wanted to visit Lapland. But this Christmas, more than any other, it’s the place she feels she really needs to be as she tries to come to terms with a future she really needs to start living.

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

For my first read of the HarperImpulse Readathon I decided on this festive novella and what a treat I discovered.

Jessie is dreading the first Christmas without her husband Jase, who died in a motorbike accident a year ago.  She has spent the last year trying to bury her grief by throwing herself into her gift shop.  In order to try and avoid the inevitable family gathering, she decides to spend the festive period in Lapland with her brother and his friends.

It is in the magical, snowy landscape of Lapland that Jessie hopes she can at last find some peace and try to find her way back to start living her life without her beloved husband.  Firstly, she meets a ski instructor called Mikku with whom Jessie has an instant connection with and finds herself revealing her painful past to.  There is a hint of mystery to Mikku who seems to only appear to Jessie. On Mikku’s advice, Jessie reluctantly attends a rock music gig where she meets the handsome Zac who is the lead singer of the band.  Again, Jessie feels an intense connection that she can’t seem to deny.

This is a wonderfully, magical, bite size taste of the perfect Christmas.  Usually in novellas, I feel a little short changed but with the beautiful descriptions of landscape  (Lapland is now on my travel wishlist) and the insights into Jessie’s troubled state of mind,and heart, I felt truly invested in this little gem of a novella. Absolutely wonderful.

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