While The Christmas Secret is set around Christmas, it is not a Christmas book nor would I add it to my list of books I read every holiday season.

Which is not to say I didn’t like this book by Karen Swan ($24.99, PGC Books, Pan MacMillan,)  because I did and I would certainly recommend it for others to read.

The book follows the story of Alex Hyde, a successful executive coach with months-long waiting list, who drops everything to accept a highly lucrative crisis to help the troubled head of an esteemed whisky company in Scotland: Lochlan Farquhar, CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, is a maverick, an enigma and a renegade, and Alex needs to get into his head before he brings the company to its knees.

When she gets to the remote Island of Islay, Alex finds herself out of her comfort zone. For once, she is not in control – Loclan is unpredictable and destructive and her usual methods don’t work. She must win his trust and find a way to close the deal before her Christmas deadline.

But as she gets closer, boundaries are blurred and Alex is faced with an impossible choice as she realizes nothing is as it seems.

Alex Hyde is a strong, successful, powerful woman who has a story of her own, as everyone does, but of which you gets hints of throughout the story. The hints are enough that it leaves you wondering what else there is to Alex Hyde and what secrets she is holding close to her chest. Lochlan is…unpleasant…but he, too, has a story and for all his faults you have to admire a person who is who he says he is.

The story was really interesting. Unlike The Rome Affair, also by Karen Swan, I did guess the end, but it wasn’t enough to spoil the story and I like how it wrapped up.

I interviewed Karen Swan. Read her Q&A here.

A copy of this book was provided by PGCBooks for an honest review. The opinions are my own.