1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A good read,
This review is from: Christmas at Claridge's (Paperback)
This one from Swan is a page-turning drama, featuring a woman with a past that colours her present life, leading her to never extend a relationship beyond 12 weeks. Clem, the protagonist, has a spat with her mother, which threatens to end in her being disowned. This episode leads, late in the story, to her having to confront her past. The bulk of the story follows Clem's dealings with the family business, which designs and manufactures leather interiors for hotels and boats. On the face of it, there's not much of a plot there, but Swan builds this skilfully into something entertaining and dramatic, as the interplay between Clem, her best friend Stella, her brother, and her distant mother.
The only odd thing in the story is when, in Portofino, Chiara disappears every Tuesday, apparently to see her ailing aunt in Bologne. It turns out that her aunt has been dead for nine years, and Chiara is presumably doing freelance accounting work on the side. This is never explained, and doesn't seem to play any part in the plot. The only explanation comes on page 343, when Clem and Chiara touch on this, but we never do find out exactly what's going on. I am mystified.
That aside, the plot is solid enough. Swan's style is effortless but at times seems to lack finesse, at least for me anyway. I prefer something that is a little more literary, but Swan knows what she is doing, and has crafted an easy-going, pleasing story, which motors along to a nice twist near the conclusion.