Book Review: Keeping a Christmas Promise

Journey to Iceland with Freya and her friends, as keeping a Christmas promise reveals more than they expected!

The front cover of Keeping a Christmas Promise by Jo Thomas, showing a snowy lodge in Iceland. The book cover is set against a blue background with snowy pine needles at the side of it.

I received a copy of ‘Keeping a Christmas Promise‘ for review purposes.

Jo Thomas writes gorgeous novels with characters who excel at turning bad situations into good. I really enjoyed Escape to the French Farmhouse and last year’s Christmas novel Finding Love at the Christmas Market (find my review here) which was set in a traditional German Christmas Market.

So I was really excited when an invitation to read Keeping a Christmas Promise popped into my inbox. Nothing gets me looking forward to the Christmas season like snuggling up with candles lit, a cosy blanket and an early Christmas read!

This time, Jo is whisking us off to Iceland with Freya, Meg and Joanna. They’re keeping a promise they made to their late friend Meg, to go and see the Northern lights at Christmas time. Freya is the head chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant, Meg is planning a fabulous Christmas wedding to the man of her dreams and Joanna is living a glamorous life straight out of a glossy magazine. Each of the three women is living their best life, just as they promised Laura they would.

Or are they?

Of course, nothing is quite as it seems. These books wouldn’t be much fun if everything ran to plan, would they?

Each of the women has their little hidden secrets and Jo Thomas dots clues to these throughout the novel. Before long, they find themselves snowed into a tiny Icelandic village. They are ‘greeted’ by a gruff villager, Pétur, and during their short stay in the village, each of the women comes to a personal revelation that takes their life in a slightly different direction.

I absolutely loved this book. The main characters are all in their forties and their mid-life worries felt very relatable. I also loved the people that they meet from the village. Pétur is the main love interest for Freya and he is as gorgeous as you’d expect. But I also loved some of the minor characters in the book and learning about their traditions made the village feel very real.

The front cover of Keeping a Christmas Promise by Jo Thomas, showing a snowy lodge in Iceland. The book cover is set against a blue background with snowy pine needles at the side of it.

The setting is, of course, absolutely fantastic and the book is filled with wonderful descriptions of the breathtaking Icelandic landscape. Keeping a Christmas Promise takes the reader away from the Iceland they probably know from Instagram and into a small community that is beautifully in tune with its local surroundings.

Without ever being preachy, Jo Thomas emphasises the importance of the relationship between the villagers and the local environment. She also hints at the damage that over-tourism and commercialism can do in these areas.

Ironically, it made me want to visit Iceland more than another photo of the Blue Lagoon!

Of course, Keeping a Christmas Promise wraps up with the happy ending that the reader is hoping for. Each of the main characters learns something new about themselves during their Icelandic adventure. And in turn, that gave me pause for thought as well.

So if you’re looking for a Christmas romance that makes you stop and think a bit, this is definitely the book for you.

The blurb:

A Christmas to remember for a friend they’ll never forget

Four friends
Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .

One promise
Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they’ve lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.

A life-changing adventure
They didn’t count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.

But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend’s wish? And can Freya’s own dreams come true, this Christmas?

A festive novel with a great mix of romance, intrigue and adventure – 8.5/10

Keeping a Christmas Promise is available now in Kindle format and paperback

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