I just love Jenny Colgan books, her characters, and settings are fabulous. Christmas on the Island is the third in a series of books that started with The Café by the Sea and The Endless Beach. The Endless Beach ended with a bit of a cliff hanger this summer and I was very much looking forward to seeing how the story continued in Christmas on the Island.
On the beautiful northern Scottish island of Mure, our favorite characters find themselves in the midst of trouble. Flora has found out she’s pregnant, but she’s afraid to reveal the truth to her boyfriend Joel. Joel had a troubled childhood and they’ve never discussed starting a family of their own. Meanwhile Flora’s brother Fintan has finally come out to his family and has married the love of his life, American billionaire Colton. Unfortunately, Colton has cancer and his prognosis is not good. Colton is estranged from his family because of their treatment of him over his lifetime, but his brother Tripp has arrived on Mure to check on him after seeing troubling reports in the news. Will Colton be able to forgive his family?
Flora’s best friend Lorna is in love with Saif, a doctor and Syrian refugee. Saif lives on the island and has newly been reunited with his two young sons, but his wife is still missing after two years. Waiting for her and not knowing drives Saif to distraction. He grows close to Lorna and begins to have feelings for her – but is his wife still alive? Will Saif’s inner conflict tear him apart?
I love how the novel started with farm dog Bramble ambling around the island observing everyone and ended the same way. I love Bramble and it made for an interesting way to start and conclude the novel. I am a great fan of character novels and Jenny Colgan knows how to write compelling characters. I feel fully vested in these characters from the last two novels and I hope that Colgan continues the journey on Mure with another novel.
The novel is set at Christmas time, but does contain characters and their dilemmas from the previous two novels. I would recommend reading the first two books before you read Christmas on the Island.
I enjoy that modern twists are in the story such as getting into the plight of Syrian refugees and having a compelling love story between the first gay couple to marry on the island of Mure, Fintan and Coltan. This was a tragic end to their love story, but I love how it brought in Colton’s broken family and some of his back story. I wish they could be the heroes of their own book.
“But otherwise this was his vigil: he would stand watch. Until the end. The beautiful house was his prison, and he was his own guard.”
Overall, Christmas on the Island is a compelling novel with great characters. I recommend reading it as a third book in the series and not on its own.
Book Source: Purchased from Amazon.com