8 February 2014

eBook Review: The First Christmas Without You by Michelle Betham

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.

Rating: 3/5

You can buy The First Christmas Without You as an eBook now.

This novella is another from publishers Harper Impulse that I managed to read just after the Christmas period. They have been releasing a lot of amazing novels and novellas as of late, from lots of brand new authors and I was excited to read this one. I hadn't heard of Michelle Betham before reading this book, but I have to admit I was swayed by the cover into reading it, it's stunning, just a shame it didn't show up in colour on my Kindle Paperwhite!

This book is set in gorgeous Lapland at Christmas. We are there with our leading lady Jessie, who has taken the trip with her brother and his friends because her lovely husband Jase died in an accident, and it's somewhere that the pair had always wanted to go. Jessie was determined to make the trip in honour of her husband, but is unsure what to expect when she gets there. She knows she has to start to move on from her husband, but doesn't even know where to start. When she meets a mysterious stranger and starts listening to his wise words, maybe she can start to envisage a future without her husband but with a little bit of happiness.

I have to admit the first few chapters did go on a little bit and I struggled to get into the story fully. I know that Jessie is devastated by the loss of her husband, but it's harked on about a little too much for me, and I felt myself getting a tad frustrated, wanting the story to move on a bit quicker and get to Lapland. It was quite repetitive, with Jessie saying the same things about her and Jase a bit too much, especially about the holiday to Lapland, but I persevered! Eventually it did move on to Lapland, and I'm pleased I held on for that. Betham writes beautifully about the country, perfectly describing everything from the scenery to the snow, to the hotel where Jessie is staying.

Jessie meets Mikku, a man who she is sure is destined to change her life in some way. I found him a bit strange, there was something a bit different about him, and when I realised what it was, I knew that you have to suspend your disbelief for a while when reading this book, there is a bit of a magical element to it. I'm not a fan of magical books if I'm honest, I prefer something a bit more realistic so perhaps this wasn't really for me in this respect. However, I love Betham's writing about Lapland, the amazing Northern Lights experience which is one I certainly want to experience for myself one day, and Jessie was a fairly likeable character, struggling to get over a life-changing loss and finding happiness in a new way. It feels festive and Christmassy, so it's one to load up on your Kindle for the next festive season.

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