Earlier this year, back in March, I had the pleasure of reading The Island affair by Helena Halme and I fell in love with the characters and the beautiful Nordic setting. So I was delighted when the second book in the series arrived through my letterbox last week. And then I was even further delighted to learn that the second book is set around Christmastime.
I love a good Christmas read! Who doesn’t!?!?!?
On the windswept Scandinavian Åland Islands, the festive season is snowy and chilly—yet breathtakingly beautiful.
It’s time for Alicia to enjoy her first Christmas back on her beloved Islands with her family. There’ll be traditional dancing around the tree and sipping mulled wine in front of a cozy fire. But peace is broken by Alicia’s estranged husband, Liam, who springs an unwelcome and devastating surprise, while her ex-lover, Patrick, tempts her with an altogether different kind of future. Alicia faces impossible choices to keep her family together.
With her world crashing around her, can Alicia create the idyllic Island Christmas she’s always dreamt about?
Meanwhile, Brit, Alicia’s best friend, returns to the Islands to lick her wounds after a particularly bloody break-up with an Italian chef. When she meets her new boss, the Captain of a Baltic cruise liner, sparks fly. Brit can’t help but fall quickly in love with Jukka, but when she discovers his murky past, she fears her heart is about to be broken yet again. Are the rumors about Jukka true, or just typical small island gossip?
Join this quirky Scandinavian island community for a Christmas you’ll never forget!
An Island Christmas is a sequel to Helena’s first novel set on Åland – The Island Affair, but it can also be read as a standalone book.
I enjoyed An Island Christmas just as much as I enjoyed the first book. Helen Halme is fast becoming a new favourite author of mine.
The writing was beautiful, the pacing suited the story and I flew through the pages. I loved being back with Alice and her growing family and circle of friends. The plot was good, but it was the characters that kept me reading.
And the setting. An Island Christmas took me back to the beautiful Nordic Åland islands, somewhere I would love to visit someday. And Helena Halme does a fantastic job at description.
“As she sits in her mother’s kitchen, drinking a hot cup of coffee, surveying the coastal view through the window, she smiles to herself. The virgin layer of snow makes the distant seas seem like an extension of the white fields, drawing a straight line between the ice and the blue skies above. It’s as if the weather gods have heard her prayers and granted her greatest wish.”P.1
I thought An Island Christmas was a Christmas story with substance and just a hint of mystery. While featuring a fantastic array of interesting characters and a wonderful setting.
I loved every page of it.
And I am hopeful that Helena Halme is already planning further books in the series.
I received a copy of the gorgeous book for review – thank you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A prize-winning author, Helena Halme writes contemporary fiction with a hint of both Nordic Noir and romance. She’s a former BBC journalist, bookseller and magazine editor. Originally from Finland where she gained an MSc in Marketing, she also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and writes in English.
Helena acts as Nordic Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors and helps other writers publish and market their books.