Review: Christmas at Claridge’s by Karen Swan


Category: Adult Fiction

Published: 2013

Read: 2016/17

Score: 2/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) This was where her dreams drifted to if she didn’t blot her nights out with drink; this was where her thoughts settled if she didn’t fill her days with chat. She remembered this tiny, remote foreign village on a molecular level and the sight of it soaked into her like water into sand, because this was where her old life had ended and her new one had begun.’Portobello – home to the world-famous street market, Notting Hill Carnival and Clem Alderton. She’s the queen of the scene, the girl everyone wants to be or be with. But beneath the morning-after makeup, Clem is keeping a secret, and when she goes too far one reckless night she endangers everything – her home, her job and even her adored brother’s love. Portofino – a place of wild beauty and old-school glamour, and where a neglected villa has been bought by a handsome stranger. He wants Clem to restore it for him and it seems like the answer to all her problems – except that Clem has been there once before and vowed, for her own protection, never to return . . .

Review: So this was a book that I was excited to read. Karen Swan seems to have a following for her stories and puts one out every year that is Christmas based. Being the holiday season I decided it was the right time to try one out for myself and see how she writes. It was a daunting task as it is a big book and I currently have a newborn so yes it took me some time to actually finish this. This doesn’t bode well as I didn’t like it very much and it was already a struggle to get through the story.

cla-xmas-new-3wayIt’s about Clem, who is a party girl in every sense of the word and lives in England with her brother. He runs a leather business and when Clem messes things up for him really badly he gives her an ultimatum. Strighten up and go to Portofino in Italy to help a super rich man redo his house and save the business. This man of course is handsome, protective and wants her…badly. So she goes and turns out she has been there before…but what happened last time and how will it change her when she has tried to hide it for so long.


It’s very well written and I do like how Karen describes things and really dives in to her characters. You feel like you know them and you really start to feel for them. Although, Clem did annoy me at times as she seemed like a spoiled brat that needed a good slap in the face. It was rich in details and I can see why people like reading her. You really felt like you were in these places, and with my husband being Italian himself I am now asking him to go to Portofino. rtemagicc_portofino_porticciolo_per_copertina_02-jpg

That being said, I didn’t actually like the story. It was written well, as I said, but SOOOOO long. A lot of it could have been cut out and it would be okay by me. It didn’t have the hook to keep me reading. Plus it was supposed to be about Christmas but there really wasn’t much at all. It started just after New Years and spans the full year and then at the end you have a small part about Christmas when everything comes together for our main character.

For adult women who loves stories like this, I highly recommend this book. If you like a good strong story than this is not a book for you. Will I read another of her stories, absolutely, just to try her out again and see if maybe this was just an off book for her. Will I read this one again? Absolutely not!



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