Karen Swan has penned a Christmas story that will keep you turning the pages with gasps of anticipation as you watch the power and softness of Alex Hyde, the main protagonist, reveal itself. She has also interwoven a storyline about an awful shipwreck in 1918 throughout the story, a side line, if you will, that is brought into the ending of the book.
Alex is a high powered Corporate coach, with a long waiting list and exacting expectations of her clients. She does not tell them what to do but, on the other hand, she gets into their heads she guides them deftly to her way of thinking in order for their business enterprises to thrive. She does not however anticipate the complexity of working on the isolated isle of Islay with Lochlan Farquar, the CEO of the esteemed Scottish whiskey company, Kentallen Distilleries. He is abrupt, self–opinionated and slowly bringing the company to its knees despite the efforts of the Board.
She is appointed to help get Lochlan and the company back on track before Christmas and finds herself in a place without the modern conveniences in communication, nor lifestyle to which she is accustomed. During the oncoming Winter, complete with storms, she finds herself balanced between past memories and events, and the job at hand.
This is a book of corporate intrigue and romance, one with subtle subplots and real characters that you will relate to. There is joy and conflict, sadness and loyalty. It is a book that is a brilliant way to spend some time during your Christmas break, so grab some shortbread and perhaps some good Scotch whiskey, curl up somewhere comfortable and discover what choices were necessary to make The Christmas Secret.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Rating out of 10: 8
Released by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Release Date: 31 October 2017