I was delighted when a surprise copy of A Gift in December by Jenny Gladwell arrived recently and couldn’t wait to start reading it. My enormous thanks to Jasmine Marsh at Hodder for sending me a copy in return for an honest review.
A Gift in December will be published in paperback on 17th October 2019 and is available for pre-order through the publisher links here.
A Gift in December
Jane thought she would be alone this Christmas, but will a luxury trip to Norway mend her broken heart? A heart-warming, feel-good festive treat to curl up with this winter.
Jane Brook has given up on love.She might have uncovered the news scandal of the year, but she’s also been dumped by boyfriend Simon (and has spent the last month avoiding him at the office). With Christmas fast-approaching, Jane’s heart is no closer to mending.
But Jane’s boss has other plans for her. She needs someone to go on a luxurious press trip to Norway to cover the story of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, and despite her protests, she’s selected Jane to go.
Jane would much rather wallow at home than spend a week in the fjords with some ditzy bloggers, a snippy publicist, ever-cheerful colleague Ben and handsome-but-arrogant TV presenter Philip Donnelly.
But as Jane throws herself into the trip and starts to enjoy herself, it seems that love hasn’t quite given up on her just yet. Amid all the snow, could a gift be awaiting her underneath the mistletoe?
My Review of A Gift in December
Journalist Jane Brook might find more than a story during her next assignment.
A Gift in December couldn’t be more aptly named as it is an absolute treat of a book. All the ingredients for a wonderful wintry read are wrapped up between the pages of Jenny Gladwell’s writing.
The narrative fizzes with intrigue and romance so that there’s more to A Gift in December than just a lovely story. Jenny Gladwell weaves geography, history and tradition into the tale so that there is a depth and fascination to enjoy as well. I learnt more about Norway during WW2 than I had realised before and if I’m honest, felt somewhat ignorant that I didn’t already know about the underpinning catalyst for this story. I love the way Norwegian and British customs are included and explored. When I’d finished reading A Gift in December I felt as if I’d had a thoroughly entertaining and absorbing trip with people I had enjoyed meeting very much indeed.
The characters are huge fun. Jenny Gladwell manages to include all the personality types one might expect from this kind of novel without them being stereotyped or stale. There’s a lively freshness to them whilst they manage to represent a real microcosm of society. I think I might have been slightly in love with Thomas despite the age gap! I thought the balance of Thomas’s past against the Instagram world of Lucy, Freddie and Lena was delicately wrought. However, it is Jane who takes centre stage and she is completely believable, warm and human. I was on her side from the very first moment and was desperate for her to have a happy outcome. Once or twice I was ready to climb into the pages of the book and give her a frank talking to make sure that she didn’t scupper her own life.
I thoroughly appreciated the comedic aspects of A Gift in December because Jenny Gladwell includes them in an understated way so that they feel a natural part of the narrative rather than shoehorned in as I sometimes find in this genre of fiction. Along with the brilliantly described Norwegian setting for the book, the glamorous luxury of the trip, and the captivating plot this balance of romance, history, intrigue and humour makes A Gift in December the perfect winter read. It’s a smashing book and I really recommend it.
About Jenny Gladwell
Jenny Gladwell is a pen name for Genevieve Herr. Genevieve was born and grew up in London and began working in publishing after university. She studied for a Creative Writing MA alongside her job as a children’s book editor at Scholastic, and her dissertation was awarded the Sophie Warne Memorial essay prize for outstanding emerging writer. Genevieve lives in Scotland with her family.
You can follow her on Twitter @genherr.