Author: Jaimie Admans
Published: November 2021 by HQ Digital
Category: Christmas, Festive, Contemporary Fiction
Sasha Hansley hates Christmas. As a child, it was her favourite time of year, but ever since the tragic death of her mother, it has completely lost its magic.
But when she gets an unexpected phone call from her eccentric estranged father, she’s forced to dust off her snow boots.
For years, ever since her mother died, Sasha has wanted to recapture the love of Christmas she experienced as a child by spending the holiday with her father, but every year he’s having adventures in some far flung destination and uses it as an excuse not to come home. She was expecting another such joyless festive season, compounded by the fact she just lost her job, when she has an unexpected phone call from her father.
‘Let me guess,’ I answer the phone, ready for yet another excuse. ‘A spaceship landed in the middle of the road to the airport so you can’t get home? Maybe aliens have taken over the population of Morocco or wherever you are, and you simply can’t abandon them in their time of need? Perhaps a giant squid has invaded the village and you’re the only one who can save them? Pirates? Dinosaurs? Man-eating jellyfish?’ I’ve certainly heard more outlandish justifications over the years for why he’s missing yet another dad-and-daughter Christmas.
I sit up straight. His voice sounds shaky and frail, and there’s a wobble in it that I’ve never heard before. ‘Dad? What’s wrong?’
It seems her father is running a Reindeer Sanctuary and Lapland style Christmas village in the Norwegian sector of the Arctic circle, and after suffering a heart attack he’s on strict instructions to take things easy. He needs Sacha’s help and has already booked her tickets.
Completely out of her comfort zone with the amount of travelling it takes to get to the sanctuary, and the bone chilling cold she encounters on disembarking from the last lap in a small, rickety plane, Sacha is met at the tiny airport by the impressive Taavi Salvesen instead of her father. Sasha is further disconcerted when she realises her mode of transport to the reindeer sanctuary is by dog sled.
I loved this enchanting story with it’s delightful setting — the Christmas village, snow covered cabins, ’Santa’s’ house and, of course, the reindeer — all brought to life with wonderfully illustrative writing. Vivid descriptions of the Northern Lights add a magical atmosphere and the thread concerning the letters was played out wonderfully. Each chapter is headed by a letter to Santa, some funny and some poignant, which is a nice touch. The story covers several issues including dealing with grief and how a life changing event can affect the choices someone can make in order to move forward. But above all there’s hope, Christmas magic…and love.
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Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.
She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.