Our first #TsundokuSquad monthly book was ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ by Darcie Boleyn. This was the first time we’ve read a book together as a group, so it was interesting to see all our opinions. We split the book into 9 chapter chunks and here is how the discussion went each week with our final view at the end!
Week 1 – 8th January
The first thing most of us noticed was the emotional dedication which tugged at our heart strings. The second thing we all discussed was the general feeling of “meh” so far, which was a shame. We had Naff and Faff used as describing words (both new to our American friend, Amanda – you’re welcome).
So far, the book has got off to a slow start with a few plot holes. We feel the friends are very shallow/fake, the dad had a bit of a delayed response to the pushy grandma. We were confused over the wedding dress; all agreed you’d get changed at least in the back of the cab before you got to the airport. Just crying out for attention really aren’t you?!
We also thought that not knowing the person you’d been with for 2 years didn’t smoke was a little unlikely but then so is getting to the alter without every thinking if you really loved them, so who are we to judge?! Half way through our discussion we remembered the inappropriate gifts packed into her bag by her “friends”, the whole scene just a bit ridiculous.
Even more ridiculous though was the man finding her asleep outside (in the freezing cold). We then had a discussion and a bit of a GIF show after the comment “I hope she pumps the viking before she finds out he’s her half brother”. Which would be very disappointing to say the least. Amanda rightly said that the best character so far is the dog, which got a giggle.
The general feeling was this section of the book was a 2.5/5 stars so far, we had Sarah and Emma giving a 2 and the rest of us sitting with 2.5 or a 3. We all hoped at this stage, that the book picked up. Which given the Goodreads rating was 4.20, seemed a potential option. We all however, agreed to read on as if anything it’s a very easy read and sparked an interested in Norway – also we want to know what happens with the Viking!
Week 2 – 15th January
Opinion is split, some are enjoying it a little more this week, happy it’s moving along nicely. Others would DNF if it wasn’t a book club book! One thing we discussed this week is that we are all very happy reading and discussing as a group, some of us had never done it before. Another thing we all agreed on is that Jonas has serious creepy vibes, not a Viking we’d want as around us, that’s for sure!
We all also agreed on how it’s a little weird and unrealistic with how calm they all seem and how the reunion ended up happening… The conversations were slightly odd and it’s certainly not how we think we’d react! A bit too pleasant, kind and unrealistically forgiving! We collectively thought that it was a disappointing reason for leaving in the first place. Another unrealistic stand/out was the reaction to the ex on the honeymoon, again, not how we’d react!
Kath is predicting that’s she’s stays in Oslo and opens her own shop and we hope that either her Nan shows up and cause some nasty frame or that there is a juicy dad and mum reunion! We’d like to have been able to read a little more of Oslo in this section of the book, more about the culture, food etc so that was also a little disappointing.
In summary, this week we feel it’s a little one dimensional character wise and clumsy writing. We’re expecting it to kick off soon though, so fingers crossed it’ll liven it up a bit for next week!
Week 3 – 22nd January
I’d love to be writing here that in week 3 it really started to pick up and we were all enjoying it… Unfortunately, that is not the case and if anything this was the worst part yet.
It again was unrealistic from the start of the section. They all up and leave to go to London in the blink of an eye and apparently her dad doesn’t flinch when his ex wife AND A RANDOM MAN appear in his house in London? This whole section was very odd and shows us that this book will most likely end with mum and dad getting back together and the viking and Frankie together.
We saw a return of the Narcolepsy (which isn’t addressed) and got treated to a slight sprinkle of some culture references but if anything, it just left us annoyed and wanting a more authentic experience. It then became very clear that our Kath had correctly predicted that our MC is going to stay in Oslo and design clothes, well done Kath!
We were proud of Frankie though for standing up to deaths door Granny, who really is a b*tch. THEN all of a sudden seems to have a real personality transplant which takes us a little by surprise.
Our main take away from this section is that everybody is way too forgiving. Freya should have been much more furious with spineless Hugo for allowing his mother to send away the love of his life.
All in all not another great reading experience this week by any of us. We are still firmly as a 2/5 rating unfortunately. We’d just love a bit of drama, something a little more realistic and less one dimensional. It’s not like the topics aren’t there, they just aren’t coming to life for us at all.
Week 4/Final Week – 30th January
So this book ended entirely as we had expected. Sometimes this isn’t always bad and is satisfying… in this case, it just prolonged the pain. We are all very happy that we have finished this book and that we read it together. We had A LOT of laughs this month discussing this book but we are overjoyed that we can now move on to read something else together.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not let this long-winded and mostly negative review sway you from reading this book. As we all know all readers like different things and this might well be your cup of tea. Just for us, unfortunately, it was not.
Our overall rating:
Most of us voted 2 stars, one gave a 2.5 and another a 3. That leaves us with an agreed group score of 2.5 out of 5 stars.