Book Review: Christmas Island by Natalie Normann

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This was such a lovely cozy winter read! I was immediately drawn in by the cover - yes, I am someone who does judge the book by the cover, at least at first. Then when I read the blurb, I knew this was one I had to snatch up. For those of you who are reading this from the US and are hesitant if the reading will be heavy with British English lingo, it's actually not at all. It's very easy to read, I didn't have to look up anything, which I normally have to do some of when reading UK romance books. When I learned this was only the second book written in English by this author, I was eager to see what story she would bring, and I absolutely loved it. It's very rare that I read any books set in Norway. In fact, I think this may be the first! I always enjoy learning something new when reading romance, and this book was full of really interesting facts about Norwegian history and folklore. It is a closed-door romance, with all the sexy times happening "off screen," so to speak. Whether that's your thing or not, I still suggest you give it a try. It was a read perfect for this time of year and a great comfy book for when you're feeling down.

All Holly Greene needs is some peace and relaxation, after an incident at work causes her to worry for her future as a doctor. Invited to her brother's home on an island in Norway, she hopes the distraction of the holidays and her new niece will prove the balm she needs. When she arrives, however, her brother isn't home, and she is forced to try to find his home based on directions he provided her. In the pitch black of the night, she takes a wrong turn and is saved from a drop off a cliff by a crazy looking cat and his gruff owner. Tor Ruude rented the cottage on the island as a way to escape his problems on the mainland, and he wants nothing to do with people, particularly not a woman. However, as he continues to run into her, he becomes intrigued against his will. Soon they are spending more time together, and the interested blossoms into something more. However, neither live on the island and so both must eventually leave. Will this be a romance for a season or will their love surpass all odds? It's Christmas, after all, and anything can happen.

Holly and Tor were absolutely lovely. I loved reading about each of them, and I found that both characters were well developed with great backstories that gave them color and mutual understanding. Holly was a sweetheart, clearly wanting to help others and be a doctor in London, and it was so sad to read about what happened to make her doubt her future. Tor was heart-hurt as well, from a previous relationship that left him mourning what could have been, and yet he still took care of a cat that drove him crazy and took time to make a young woman who felt out of sorts feel comfortable. His mannerisms were very blunt, which was a great contrast to Holly's softer way of communicating, but together they made a well-suited pair. I loved the folklore written into the story as well, such as the Norwegian version of the English brownie (not the food but the mischief-making creature that lives in your home). I also thought it was interesting how the author explained the Norwegian people of old lived, along with a theory of why the Vikings traveled away so much. I never knew how isolated people could be there, and it was eye-opening.

Now I really want to visit Norway, and in a pandemic, I guess now I have all the to plan my trip. I will definitely be reading this author's first English book, and I look forward to the next!

**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**

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