I am delighted to share my review today for Keeping a Christmas Promise by Jo Thomas. I am not a hugely festive person by when it comes to a book by Jo Thomas that happens to be festive then all deals are off.
My huge thanks to Random House and Transworld Books for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.
Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .
Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they’ve lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.
A life-changing adventure
They didn’t count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.
But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend’s wish? And can Freya’s own dreams come true, this Christmas?
I have read enough of these authors’ books to know that you should not start one as you go to bed! Around 2am I turned the final page, it was simply a case of “just more chapter” followed by, “maybe just one more, before finally deciding that as I had the next day off it didn’t matter if I was later up than usual 🙂
Years ago four friends make a bucket list of places they would like to see, things they would like to do and what they wanted to achieve in their lives. Over the years there have been marriages, divorces, promotions, children and the death of one of the four.
Deciding to fulfil one bucket list item, the three friends go to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. They are booked in for a weekend and in theory that should be enough time to see the lights and make it back home ready for a new Christmas menu to be rolled out at a restaurant, for making sure the arrangements are in place for a family Christmas and the last minute wedding plans.
It takes a lot for the women to get together so three days is all they can manage in their busy schedules.
The author has done a brilliant job with this story and it is one that really does epitomise lives in today’s society. Busy with work, families, lives and non-stop lifestyles. The demand for their time seems to be constant, phone calls to check things, calls to keep the peace and to make sure everyone is happy. I know if it was me going to Iceland I would want to spend more than just a weekend.
Knowing time is of the essence before they all disappear back to their lives, the girls take a risk and get routes and spots where they might see the lights. Unfortunately, this goes terribly wrong after they are involved in a shunt. All the women are unharmed, but they are now stranded.
I adored this story and I really loved how the lives of the women had been built up to be busy, almost too busy for each other and also for their departed friend. As I mentioned, a weekend would not be enough for me, and I do think that something as important as achieving a close friend’s bucket list wish is something that should take more time. It’s a good job the author also thinks this way.
The author chose a wonderful way to show the real Iceland, the food, the people, the scenery and also the smaller communities away from the hotels and tourist spots. Being without things like electricity, a phone signal and a road back to the hotel encourages the women to look at their lives. The longer they stay cooped together the more they realise that they are not living their lives to the fullest. Yes, they may be achieving some of their goals, but is this making them happy?
A friend of mine told me a few years ago that “you should work to live and not live to work”. I think this sums up this story very well.
The author once again spoils with mentions of hearty foods and also tantalising recipes. The community spirit of this remote Icelandic area is one of warmth and friendliness, but also of caution. Outsiders wanting to change things, hardships, depression and rising costs are also mentioned as part of the story. The world is changing and with it are people’s thoughts and expectations.
This is a story that has a few moralistic scenarios, it did make me stop and think. This is a wonderful story that is fabulous reading and kept me up till ridiculous o’clock until I got to the end. If you like a contemporary fiction novel that has romance and friendship and is definitely addictive, then this is one I would definitely recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx