Given the number of books Karen Swan has written and my preference for the types of novels she writes, it's surprising that Christmas on Primrose Hill was only the second book by Swan I've read. I quite enjoyed it!
Here's the synopsis:
On Primrose Hill...
Twinkling lights brighten London's Primrose Hill as Christmas nears - but for Nettie Watson, it's not parties and presents that she wants.
Promises are made
For Nettie, Christmas only serves as a stark reminder of the life she used to have...One day she made a promise to never leave home, and so far she's stayed true to her word.
Promises are broken
Under the glaring spotlight of the world's media, Nettie is unexpectedly caught up in a 21st century storm...Her exploits have made her a global name and attracted the attention of one of the world's most eligible men - famous front man, Jamie Westlake. But now she has his attention, does she want to keep it?
Fairly early on the reader can figure out there's a secret about Nettie's mother...but you don't know what it is and it takes forever for it to be revealed. It. Drove. Me. Crazy. Not only that, but I really couldn't understand why she didn't want anyone to know about what had happened. I suppose I could to a point but...I would think it'd be something she'd want to share with someone she was becoming close with. One of my good friends, and fellow blogger, Natalie of Browsing Bookshelves, enjoyed the suspense though so it's all a matter of personal preference.
I got a huge amount of enjoyment out of the social media/viral video storyline. It was fun to listen to them report how things were going and how much money they were raising. I almost wished the Blue Bunny was real because it'd be pretty amusing to watch the antics Nettie and her team got up to. Social media and the Internet move quickly so the story (sort of...see above paragraph) moved quickly too. The viral marketing part of the story almost went too fast, which was odd considering other parts of the story dragged. I couldn't really keep track of time because everything was happening at a rapid pace.
Time to talk about the romance! While I almost wanted something else to happen (because I'm a sucker for those types of stories), in the end I'm glad it didn't. (Yep. That's vague. But I can't tell you more than that otherwise I'll start spoiling the story.) Average girl meets famous guy is always a fun storyline and I enjoyed reading as Nettie and Jamie's relationship evolved.
While the novel doesn't have too much to do with Christmas itself, you get the gear up/hype of the holiday season as well as some Christmas magic (not literal magic...it's not that kind of story). The holiday hints were subtle - markets, ice skating, tree decorating - but perfectly paired with the overall novel. It's one of those Christmas stories that should leave you with many warm fuzzies when you've finished it.
I'm quite happy I have more Karen Swan books to catch up on because I don't want Christmas on Primrose Hill to be my last. Swan writes engaging, sweet, emotional, and funny stories. You may be done with your Christmas reading now but I think you should still pick this one up and carry on the festive spirit for just a few more days.
*An ARC of this novel was provided by Publishers Group Canada in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*