Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Book review: The First Christmas Without You - Michelle Betham

The blurb.
A story of love and hope at Christmas, The First Christmas Without You is an emotional and poignant novella. A truly magical Lapland fairytale…

Jessie Collins has always wanted to visit Lapland. But this Christmas, more than any other, it’s the place she feels she really needs to be as she tries to come to terms with a future she really needs to start living.

My opinion.

Jessie's husband died a year ago, just a few weeks before Christmas. He was her life, her past, her future. Without him, Jess feels lost and she definitely does not feel ready to move on. She is, however, determined to convince her loved once she's doing just fine. She knows she has to keep going but she's just not sure how to get on with life without Jase. She decides to follow her brother and his friends to Lapland, the dream holiday she and Jase had been looking forward to for so long.
In Lapland Jess finds herself enjoying the holiday spirit again and together with her new friend Mikku, she starts thinking about her life. She looks back on the past year and how she handled grieving for her husband. 

But moving on will prove to be much harder than she thought. 
I'm not a big believer in fate and destiny, so the idea of fate bringing them together (which is pretty much a constant throughout the story) kept me from getting really absorbed into the story. Mikku wasn't my favorite character. I liked how he was able to help Jess rethink her life, how he helped her decide for herself what it is she wanted. I did find him to be a bit "pushy" at times, and I would have liked it more if his mentor role had been assigned to her brother - for example- instead of a complete stranger she met walking down the street. 
I did love reading Jessie's journey and I love how the story is full of hope and Michelle beautifully describes Jessie's mixed feelings of love, guilt, pain, loss,... 

Final note: I absolutely love the cover!

I'm very happy I got the chance to read this novella just in time for Christmas.


Many thanks to Harper Impulse for providing me with a review copy.
Happy Holidays!

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