Book Review | Christmas on Primrose Hill by Karen Swan

Karen Swan
Advance Reader Copy, 463 pages
Publication date:
November 13th 2015
Atria Books
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The holidays remain one of my favourite times of the year, thus it’s only fitting that I’m always in search of an excellent holiday themed read. Karen Swan’s Christmas on Primrose Hill was one of those books that I truly wanted to fall in love with however it wasn’t meant to be I guess.

Christmas on Primrose Hill introduces us to Nettie Watson who by becomes an online sensation after her unexpected and humiliating fall is caught on air. As a result, she also catches the interest and ­­­­attention of Jamie Westlake, an extremely musician. The premise makes for a book that has several amusing hijinks as Nettie tries to hide her identity as the “Blue Bunny Girl” from the public. Additionally, I appreciated the community feel of the book especially the moment where the residents of Primrose Hill gather to show Nettie and her father their support and that they are thinking of them and their family. It was an incredibly heartwarming moment that captures the true spirit of the holidays.

Unfortunately, that remained one of the only elements that I enjoyed about this book. Other aspects of the book that I didn’t appreciate was how particularly near the beginning it felt that Nettie was constantly being forced to act in a manner that she wasn’t comfortable in public and by the people who were supposed to be her friends. In fact for the majority of the book it appeared that only Dan and her father were truly on her side and cared about what was best for her. (Although her best friend, “Jill” also come through in the end) And while the end result was a mostly happy conclusion for all, considering the situations that Nettie found herself in it could’ve gone extremely wrong at any point in time and she could have been in serious trouble. Another thing I wasn’t fond of was the relationship between Nettie and Jamie. It had extremely superficial roots and while there were a couple of sweet moments between the two of them, I find it difficult to believe that they could last. Although I’ll admit that I’m probably biased as in the finale I don’t think Jamie fully redeemed himself after the way he treated Nettie over a misunderstanding. He went a bit too far and hurt an already emotionally wounded Nettie. And even though he did provide an explanation for his actions, I felt that his reaction was disproportionate retribution to the situation.

Overall I felt Christmas on Primrose Hill attempted to tell several stories at once in one book which resulted in a novel that felt too long and often dragged at times. Furthermore I thought the book concluded in a manner that was a bit abrupt and unsatisfactory however the conclusion made sense for the type of story it was. Therefore while I’m unsure as to whether I’d recommend this particular book to others, the author herself has written numerous other books and perhaps it stands that this one title that wasn’t to my preference.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.