Review of ‘A Swedish Christmas fairy tale’ by A.E. Radley,
Audiobook narrated by Janine Cooper-Marshall
Amber Tate works for as a children’s book acquisition manager in a London publishing house, but as Christmas is approaching her job is threatened. Her surly boss gives her a last chance: get the rights to the Lund Collection of fairy tales or else find another job. Running out of options, she travels to Sweden to try to convince the reclusive and guarded author’s grandaughter, Emilia Lund. When both women meet, they have completely different intentions to get to know each other but an underlying current of attraction simmers between them. Will their budding friendship end up in disaster or will it develop into something else?
This is a sweet and fluffy lesbian Christmas tale, very light on the romance. Don’t expect much on the love department but, as a character-driven book, there is a very good building of the main characters’ relationship and subsequent chemistry. Both leads couldn’t be any more different, while Amber is outgoing and sociable, Emilia is guarded and suffers from social anxiety. They say that opposites attract, and Ms. Radley makes their relationship seem plausible and highlights the characters’ differences, not only in personalities but also in their language, culture and places of residence.
My only concern is that Emilia’s anxiety, in my opinion, doesn’t seem very realistic. I’m definitely not an expert in mental health issues but, the way it was presented at the beginning of the novel seems at odds with the last parts of the plot. Maybe the book would have benefited from more development at the end to make it more credible and to make the most of the couple’s chemistry potential. Having said that, it wasn’t hard for me to get invested in the story as I think this is more about achieving the holiday spirit than an authentic account of a person’s struggle with mental health.
This audiobook was narrated by Janine Cooper-Marshall and I’m afraid that I’m on the fence regarding her performance. While I liked that the voices of all the characters were distinctive and the accents were acceptable, I wasn’t satisfied by the voice quality that she provides to the leads. They both sound older than their age and somehow at odds with their personalities. Having said that, I have to clarify that this is just my personal taste and it didn’t deter me from enjoying the story. If you are looking for an opposites-attract relationship, with a very light romance and interesting cultural references, this might be for you. Unfortunately, it’s not available in either Audible Escape or Scribd. Duration: 6 hours, 24 minutes.
Overall, 4 stars.