Cover Image: A Gift in December

A Gift in December

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Member Reviews

The perfect book for the long winter evenings. It was engrossing, especially in the description of Norway - I want to go! This book is best read by a crackling log fire with a hot chocolate to hand.  Some of the characters made me laugh out loud with their antics. A great story and very well written.
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Inspiring, uplifting & heartwarmingly festive!

The story is beautifully crafted with fabulously relatable characters you are invested in from the start, heartwarming friendships (and let's not forget to mention the scrummy food descriptions that will have your mouth watering!!).

This is novel is a fabulous mix of history and romance - with a huge dollop of  Christmas magic, the perfect feel-good read to keep you warm in the winter!

Thanks to  Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
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Sometimes I like to break up the crime and thrillers with something a little easier to read. This one definitely fit that bill....give it a read :)
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Heartwarming story. The book description states that Jane Brook is sent to Norway to cover the Queen of the Forest, the Christmas tree given to the people of London every winter. A week of luxury hotels and festive celebrations awaits, all in the company of dashing adventurer Philip Donnelly. Perhaps this is what Jane needs to mend her aching heart?

But, deep in the heart of the snowy forest, Jane makes a startling discovery: long-hidden wartime letters between a young soldier and a mysterious girl. The last letter ends with a passionate plea that was never answered.
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Thank you to Netgalley for a pre publication copy.  In return for an honest review! #agiftindecember #netgalley

Jane is a journalist who has just released the story of the year at he expense of her relationship with Simon! Her boss Nadine sends her on the press trip of a lifetime to Norway - to watch the choosing and cutting of the tree given as a gift every year to London. Will this trip only give Jane the gift of a story? or will it make or break her life?

The description of the book drew me to this debut novel. Although I do feel that the front cover is quite dark and plain therefore does not do this work of art justice.

Once opening the book it is a page turner.  You are always being given secrets for you to be a detective with. I read this book in 48 hours. Any spare time i had i felt myself wanting to pick this book up to find another piece of the puzzle.

I love how delicately the author has put this book together merging romance, womens fiction  and historical fiction together. By doing this she has made the most fantastic debut. My research tells me she did this all whilst her baby slept. Making it even more special. She has made a fabulously holistic book. This book makes you cry, laugh and give empathy to all the characters. Who each have their own story. This book is a great cosy read and you never feel that you are missing anything from the story line allowing you to follow it through until the end with confidence.

Although their are some emotional subjects included in this book such as parents death,  WW2 and cancer. I do not feel this takes away from the cosy feel of the book and I feel actually gives each character a third dimension to get your teeth into.

The authors choice of Norway and choosing the gift of a tree shows passion. Bringing a special piece of history that many don't know about, into the light through a beautiful piece of fiction. Preventing it being lost forever. 

I would love a sequel to this finding out how Ben and Jane continue to move forward and maybe join them on more adventures with their jobs. 

One last thing I would love jenny to get facebook so i can interact with her and look out for any book signings in the South West. Maybe she may even do a video for us.
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loved this book - would 100% recommend and am looking forward to reading what this author writes next!
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I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. I haven't read anything by the author before but had heard quite a few good reviews so decided to try it myself and I am glad I did. Really enjoyable read.
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Who wouldn't love this book!?  The characters make you feel you are part of their lives, you experience their highs and lows just as you would in your own lives with the hope that the ending would turn out well for them, after all a love story always does doesn't it? Set in wonderful Norway this is a fabulous book, humorous, poignant and a true reflection of modern life.  A great read - highly recommended.
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This is a warming read ideal in the cold months. Journalist Jane is sent to Norway to cover the tradition of the Christmas tree gifted to the British by the Norwegians after World War Three.  Befriended by an elderly war veteran she discovers a tale of love, secrets and loss.  History and romance, this is a lovely tale.
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I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. It sounded a bit different from my usual choice and I wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit for my taste, but it is a lovely story. Not too Christmassy, so can be read any time of year.  I loved reading about the traditions surrounding the tree.
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A lovely winter story of love,lost love and love to be found.
When journalist Jane is sent to Norway to see the Christmas tree that is donated to London being cut down,she encounters a man who during the second world war was a Norwegian soldier.
A story gets out about his wartime adventures and it is up to Jane to write an exclusive article for the newspaper,or is it?
A bit predictable in parts but still a nice easy read with some interesting historical facts.
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A lovely romantic read, perfect for the cold winter nights.
I loved all the characters and I loved the use of Norway. A must read!
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This was a truly wonderful Christmas story.  My favorite time of the year and just love reading a 'curl up' book.  The December Gift did not disappoint.  A story of a work romance that goes sour and Jane has now given up on men.  That is until her boss sends her on a trip to Norway to cover a story about the choosing and cutting of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree.  Secrets are unfurled as we go through magical Norway.  Skiing down the slopes.  Where and how does Jane find romance again?  This is a must read poignant story.  Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this novel and exchange for an honest review.
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Well this was just a large Christmas hug in a book.
I've always liked my christmas reading to be like the book version of a Richard Curtis movie, and this certainly had the feel good factor. You do have the basic characters you find in these kind of stories; the spurned and disenchanted protagonist, the bad boy love interest, and the overlooked 'nice boy'. However, don't be fooled by this, underneath the basic and predictable love story, is another story being told. This one may seem predictable at first, but takes a few unexpected turns that add an extra layer to the story beyond the Christmas feels.
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This is one of those ones I'll want to read again each winter. A cosy novel set in Norway with just enough flashbacks revealing why the Nordic country gifts a Christmas Tree to London each year. Of course there is a 1940s love story involved too. I cried and you will too. In present day Norway though, jaded journalist Jane is on a well deserved five-star press trip (which sounds Conde Nast glossy mag incredible) after working on a scoop of the year. It's while she is away she gets a chance to reassess what's important to her in life. This comes about via that 1940s Nordic love story, a dude of a love rat and some very wise influencers - I know!) - the author is very clever with their storylines. I LOVED this - a perfect read to get anyone through winter.
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A Gift in December by Jenny Gladwell has certainly felt the most festive of my Christmas reads so far this year. That's partly down to the fact that the vast majority of the book was set in the winter wonderland of Norway which was covered in snow and exuded all things Christmas. It was such a relief to see that a book that was meant to be Winter/Christmas themed actually lived up to my expectations and I don't find myself saying 'it had the briefest allusion to Christmas'. Too often recently I have been left disappointed that books that claim to be feature the most magical time of year fail to do so except in small snippets towards the end but this gorgeous read from Jenny Gladwell lived up to all my expectations in terms of Christmas featuring and this is definitely a story that should not be forgotten about this year but instead should be firmly placed on everyone's Christmas reading lists for 2019.

The opening was not what I would have expected but it posed many questions and made me ponder how could a historical introduction to what was presumably a romance story ever connect up but with this author you are in safe hands and she knew exactly what direction she wished to take the story in. The merging of the past with the present was seamless but yet this book didn't stray into the historical fiction genre instead it retained all the magic of a Christmas romance with lots of little surprises thrown in along the way. As Jane, our main character, attempts to get over recent heartbreak and instead of continuously drifting she needs to decide for herself just where her life should take her. In the small area of Nybergsund in Norway in 1940, a soldier is accompanying the King as he attempts to leave the country. The King is resisting the Nazi regime and hopes to form a government from afar. Thomas, the solider, along with the group is led through the forest by a local Marit and the one night they share together in a hut will be forever etched in his memory and will have long lasting affects for many years to come.

Fast forward to the present day and journalist Jane who works in London for the Courier newspaper is coming down off the high of breaking the biggest news story of the year. It has done wonders for her career but she can't say the same for her personal life as boyfriend Simon has dumped her because she gave him no time whilst she was working. I knew instantly she was better off without him, I mean who dumps someone because they have not been getting the attention they wanted and feel they are neglected and all because Jane was working flat out and missed a few dates here and there.

Simon was a sleaze bag and matters were made even worse as he works on the same paper as her. Of course, Jane is heartbroken. She is a calm and ordered person who wants everything perfect in her life and she believes her career is going from strength to strength and she thought her love life was the same. Instead she is back to square one and just aimlessly wondering what does she do now? She had opened up to Simon and she had started to understand how sharing her life with someone could be a positive thing and now all that has been stripped from her. What can she do? A distraction is needed but what? So when a work assignment to Norway reporting on the cutting down of the Christmas tree for Trafalgar square presents itself, will this be the answer to her problems? Jane doesn't jump at the chance, more her editor pushes her forward to get away for a week. Little does Jane realise this trip will transform her in many ways and the story that unfolds was just so lovely for the reader to engage with.

Jenny Gladwell certainly nailed her descriptions of Norway. It was like one big advertisement for the country but in no way was it rammed down your throat. It opened my eyes to a country with plenty of history and connections to Britain, i.e. the tradition of presenting the tree each year but the author also showcased what else Norway has to offer. Jane arrives with an open mind and takes her time relaxing into the trip. The trip is led by PR extraordinare Natasha and along for the ride are bloggers, critics, Instagram stars and patronising Philip, a TV presenter, who thinks he can also write.

Ben, a photographer on Jane's paper is also there and I loved his character. He was so understated but always there lingering in the shadows ready to step in when needed. So kind, caring and considerate, a man who could see the bigger picture. He understood certain things needed to happen, life experiences needed to occur and lessons needed to be learnt before the darkness would turn into light and the wool would be pulled from certain eyes. There is also another older guest on the tour and as his name is revealed and over the course of the story as Jane gets to know him and begins a secret quest of her own the overall themes and plot of the book became even clearer and I loved how little connections and secrets were beginning to fall into place.

Right from the moment the group touched down in you are instantly transported from wherever you are reading right to where the group are. Everything just oozes winter and Christmas and showcases Norway to perfection. From the stunning landscapes and forests where the tree cutting ceremony took place, to the unique hotels the group stayed in everything just seemed so magical and other worldly and Jane and the group were certainly being given the experience of a lifetime. But what really started to annoy me was the fact that Philip became very much a leech attaching himself to Jane and drawing her away from the group.

It was like he was casting a spell on her and she forget all about his reputation of being a womaniser. He was full of self confidence but along with it came such an obnoxious side that I couldn't fathom how Jane couldn't see that he wasn't the best of people to be hanging around with. It was almost as if sensible, well rounded Jane was left behind in London and she was going to let loose. But at the first sign of attention she was gone and taken in. It was as if she craved love and security and if anyone gave it to her she would jump at the chance without strongly considering the bigger picture and without looking deep down to what her heart was actually telling her.

As Jane gets to know Philip more you wish she really didn't and Natasha even gets frustrated with her for missing so many of the events that have been organised because Philip is dragging her away. But balanced nicely with the storyline of Jane and the personal side of the trip for her was that of the story of the old man who is with them. I won't say any more because it would give too much away. But suffice to say it was so touching, heart-warming and endearing and without this character I don't think Jane would have undergone the transformation that slowly begins to happen for her. It helped teach her some life lessons and perhaps steer her in a more welcoming direction. Life is too short to be safe and when the right and true love presents itself maybe we should go for it and grab it with both hands and not let go.

All in all, this is a wonderful book, a charming read with a fantastic setting and a good storyline to back it up. You'll be rooting for Jane but also glad that she works to solve a decades long problem and in doing so she does some good for herself. Nearing the end I questioned would the beginning ever connect up with the overall story line, it was like it had been forgotten about but I was pleasantly surprised with the twist that was in store for the reader. A Gift in December was a really good début from Jenny Gladwell and I will certainly look out for more books from her in the future.
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This was a beautiful romance with a surprising historical twist and I felt it added something more than your typical holiday romances. It was well written with the hopes of romance and new beginnings as well as glances to the past and what might have been. This book will transport you from the rainy streets of London to the snowy forests and ski lodges of Norway and an added bonus is that there are some interesting characters to meet along the way!
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This is more that just a cozy, winter read. 

Jane Brook is a journalist who has just broken the story of the year.   Recently dumped by a colleague, Jane thinks that she will be spending Christmas alone.  
But Jane's boss has other ideas.  Jane is sent to Norway to cover the story of the Queen of the Forest.  This is the tree that is given to the people of London every year as a thank you for their help during WW2.

Luxurious hotels and festivities, accompanied by a group of bloggers , a photographer working for the same newspaper, other journalists and a reality TV sleb with a reputation and a very high opinion of himself.  Also on the trip is Thomas who is guest of honour at the ceremony  where the tree is chosen and cut. 

But during this trip, Jane discovers another story.  That of a soldier and a enigmatic young woman who spend just one night together as they help King Haakon escape the Nazi threat.   Through talks with Thomas, Jane learns that he was the soldier who aided the King to escape and Thomas asks Jane to help him to find the young woman.  This brave woman who wrote many letters to Thomas but which he never replied to. 
Jane agrees to help Thomas and another heartwarming story is discovered. 

The author takes one on such a wonderful journey.  I learned so much about the history and traditions of Norway.   I knew the general story behind the Christmas tree that is sent to London every year but not in any real detail. 

I cannot give this book 5 stars though, much as I enjoyed it.  Although I liked the characters, Jane really did annoy me at times.
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Well what a lovely book this was, romance but with the added mystery surrounding the letters. The main character of Jane is trying to recover from a relationship breakdown and so goes on a jolly to Norway with her work where she meets Thomas and starts to investigate the mystery surrounding them.
There is a slight dual time line to this book, but is more flashbacks than anything major. I really enjoyed the interactions Jane had with the social media bloggers as well as the other characters on the trip and the plot outside any romance was interesting, especially the Norway set parts.
I did find myself wondering at times where the secondary story with the letters was going but the author turned it around and this now makes me want a second book depicting the outcome.
I loved this festive read and would read another book by the same author.
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Jane is an award winning journalist who has recently had her heartbroken. So when she is sent on a trip to Norway by her editor to witness the choosing of the Queen of the Forest; Norway's gift to London as a thank you for the help given in World War II, she is far from impressed.  An all expenses trip to Norway, a diverse bunch of media people and a C level celebrity, exclusive hotels and a jam packed agenda of cultural experiences, all make for the background to a mystery dating back to WWII which Jane feels is worth pursing. 

I loved the mix of characters and found them to be well written and believable. The story flows well and the twist at the end was interesting.  Jane makes some stupid mistakes but I couldn't help but like her.

I really enjoyed this lovely story and I totally enjoyed reading it.
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