Romance in the Swiss Alps
My rating: 4 out of 5
A wonderful story of a romance that does not run smoothly, set mainly in Wengen in the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland.
Harriet travels to Switzerland to work in a hotel and escape her past. Philippe is also there to escape and get his novel written before the looming deadline. Are their first impressions of each other correct? Will love bloom alongside the alpine flowers? “It’s not straight forward” as Elspeth, one of the very engaging characters, says.
Among dreamy moments of sipping hot chocolate amidst the stunning mountain scenery, there are plenty of confusions and misunderstandings. Things are often not as they seem and this keeps the reader guessing. At the same time the reader is treated to a quiet humour from the author, personal insights into the character’s lives, betrayals, friendships and a lot of dramatic racing down mountain paths.
For the armchair traveller there is plenty to keep them interested, with fantastic imagery (using few words) of Wengen and the surrounding area, and visits to real mountain huts and other places. Later in the book the narrative moves to the Theale and Bradfield areas of Berkshire – again lots of detail of genuine places to be visited.
This is a stunning debut novel, and I am sure we will be reading a lot more by this author. Her writing draws you completely in, the characters are well depicted (and easy to remember), and though Harriet could at times do with a sitting down and a good talking to, you can see where she is coming from, and sympathise with her predicament. There are peripheral characters who the readers will be relate to, both positively and negatively, from the bitchy colleague to the pretty Sophie – a character with such strong traits that she will remain with the reader long after the book is finished.
To me this was a book primarily about people, their feelings and why they do things that seem reasonable to them, but completely crazy to others. A lovely summer read, or a book for curling up with on a winter’s evening.
Suitable for all the family – a great book that is all about romance.