12 Days of Christmas Reads: The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

Welcome to a huge celebration of Christmas-themed books! Every November I impulse buy a ton of Christmas-themed books (mostly romances) and dump them onto my Kindle. I then spend the next two months wallowing in wonderful, heart-warming, sometimes sexy reads. This year I'm sharing twelve of my favorites, and day eight is all about whisky, Scotland, and a slow burn romance!

If you missed yesterday's Christmas reading recommendation, click here.

The Christmas Secret, by Karen Swan

Alex Hyde is the leaders’ leader. An executive coach par excellence, she’s the person the Great and the Good turn to when the pressure gets too much; she can change the way they think, how they operate, she can turn around the very fortunes of their companies.

Her waiting list is months’ long, but even she can’t turn down the unorthodox but highly lucrative crisis call that comes her way a few weeks before Christmas, regarding the troublesome – and troubled – head of an esteemed whisky company in Scotland: Lochlan Farquhar, CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, is a maverick, an enigma and a renegade, and Alex needs to get inside his head before he brings the company to its knees.

It should be business as usual. She can do this in her sleep. Only, when she gets to the remote island of Islay, with the winter snows falling, Alex finds herself out of her comfort zone. For once, she’s not in control - Lochlan, though darkly charismatic, is unpredictable and destructive, her usual methods gaining no traction with him - and with Christmas and her deadline fast approaching, she must win his trust and find a way to close on this deal.

But as she pulls ever closer to him, boundaries become blurred, loyalties loosen and Alex finds herself faced with an impossible choice as she realizes nothing and no-one is as they first seemed.

First of all, look at that cover. I'm a sucker for a good women's fiction cover, and this one jumped out at me when I was wandering around my local Waterstones. This book ticked a lot of boxes for me:

  • It's set in Scotland
  • It had a historical story being told in the background
  • There's a grumpy distillery owner hero
  • The romance burns slow until it finally combusts about two thirds through the book

However, I think it really shines when you meet Lochlan's friends from university who bring Alex into their little group. It's a good one to read while cozied up under a blanket.

Check back tomorrow for more Christmas reading recommendations as the 12 Days of Christmas Reads rolls on with another historical mystery. If you want to see all of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads recommendations in one place, you can check out this handy landing page. And be sure to download my London-set Christmas novella, Kiss Me at Midnight.