Lauren St John’s stunning Christmas classic is about forgotten children, the power of nature to heal us and a girl who will climb mountains in search for a place to call home.
Growing up in vibrant, crowded Nairobi, Makena has only one dream: to climb Mount Kenya like her hero, her mountain guide father. But when her beautiful world is shattered, she finds that in the city’s dark places there are a thousand ways to fall, each more deadly than any crevasse. In a world of strangers, does she dare trust Snow, whose ballet dreams are haunted by a past she’s still running from? And is the sparkling fox friend or foe?
After a fresh start in the Scottish Highlands turns bad, Makena flees to the mountains. But will they betray her or be the making of her?
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was not at all what I expected from the summary. Especially the fact that this is advertised as a Christmas book and since I’m one of those people that can only start listening to Christmas songs on December 1st, so reading that topic in summer felt kind of weird. Fortunately, Christmas only played a bigger part towards the end of the book, where it made more or less sense to add it. This book, in my opinion, is much more than a Christmas tale.
The first couple of chapters were kind of slow but then I found my way into Makena’s story and was so enraptured by it that I couldn’t put down the book. St. John manages to beautifully depict the landscapes, cities and people in Kenya, as well as Scotland. Reading them I could imagine scaling up those mountains myself.
While the first chapters felt too slow, the later chapters were too fast paced for my taste. This, I think, is quite the shame, because I would have loved to learn so much more about the circumstances and life in Kenya. Instead it was like rushing through those important plot points, which all seemed to end in some kind of new drama. To sum it up, there was too much happening for only two hundred pages and it showed.
Another thing that irked me were the characters. We learned a lot about Makena, but I got the impression that every other character was just there so she could get more character development. They were introduced and were important, as well as actually interesting for a while, just to be mentioned in passing later on.
I liked this book, don’t get me wrong. I just think it could have been so much better.