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Love stories to last: a guide to Karen Swan's books

Settings that will transport you and page-turning tension in every story; Karen Swan's novels are known for both love stories and locations that will sweep you away. So whether you're already a fan or you're looking for a new romantic read, discover our definitive guide to Karen Swan's books.

Karen Swan is the international best-selling author of romance novels, beloved the world over. She publishes twice a year – once in the sunny heights summer and once in the cosy weeks of winter – and she is consistently one of the UK’s most popular fiction authors. Renowned for setting deep, complicated love stories within twisting plots, Karen Swan's books are loved for their evocative locations and richly drawn characters.

Here, Karen introduces her books in her own words, and we share our guide to her must-read novels.

Author Karen Swan in white trousers and a black jacket leaning against a wall smiling
Karen Swan

I’m something of an accidental author as I was a fashion journalist originally, advised to try my hand at fiction by a literary agent who knew far more than me on the matter. As an English Literature graduate, I was certainly well read but actually constructing a novel myself, without any creative writing training, was daunting. Luckily, I think a love of language and literature is half the journey and when I cast around for themes, tones and influences, it helped being able to draw inspiration from my old career.  My third novel Christmas at Tiffanys - which is set in the fashion capitals of London, Paris and New York - was an international hit and carved the niche for what has since become known as the Festive Fiction genre. To many of my readers, the release of my winter book heralds the onset of the festive season and reading my books has become a part of their own festive traditions. 

However, my summer books are equally beloved for their transportive locations and my plots are always meticulously researched. I make a point of switching up the construction of each book so that my stories remain fresh and never formulaic, even to my most long-standing readers. Plot topics are diverse too and whilst there’s still that sense of glamour in the stories, topics range from the gritty backdrops of the Spanish Civil War or Nazi-occupied Paris, to ecology threats in the Costa Rican rainforest and the fallout of traumatic brain injury. 

Most recently, I’ve moved into historical fiction with a new series, The Wild Isle Girls, which is set around the dramatic evacuation of the remote Scottish isle St Kilda in the summer of 1930. The first book, The Last Summer, leads a collection of five in total, with each novel centred on a different young St Kildan woman. Having grown up as close friends and neighbours on the lonely isle, the women are dispersed to new lives on the mainland - but their fates remain intricately connected by an engulfing mystery of what happened to a powerful man in the final hours before they left their old home.    


Karen Swan's summer reads

The Last Summer

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Last Summer

The first in the new Wild Isles series,The Last Summer tells the story of free-spirited Effie Gillies. Effie has lived all her life on the remote Scottish island of St Kilda, and when handsome Lord Sholto arrives on the island she shows him around. The attraction is instant, but when the islanders are evacuated three months later Effie is conflicted. When she is offered a job on Sholto's estate, the differences in their stations seem insurmountable. Meanwhile, a shocking discovery back on the island threatens dreams for a new start. Based on the true life story of St Kilda in the 1930s.

The Paris Secret

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Paris Secret

Tucked away on a cobbled Paris back street, an apartment lies thick with dust, hidden stories and priceless artworks. When the treasure trove of paintings is discovered, star art agent Flora travels to Paris from London to uncover the story of each one. But first she must deal with the glamorous Vermeil family, not least brooding Xavier, who seems keen to exclude Flora from his family's affairs – exactly what is he hiding?

The Secret Path

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Secret Path

Twenty-year-old Tara Tremain already has is all: she's training to be a doctor, and her adored fiancé is an impassioned American biology student. But then life falls apart: Alex betrays her. Ten years on, and Tara has turned her life around. Her career is great, her friends are loyal and she has a man who loves her. But when Tara reenters the world of her affluent family at a party in Costa Rica she is thrown into crisis. A child is gravely ill and the treatment is several days' hike away. The only person who can help Tara is the one who broke her heart – but can she trust him?

The Hidden Beach

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Hidden Beach

Two is a romance, but three is definitely a crowd. In the most ancient area of Stockholm, Bell Everhurst is loving her role as a nanny to the three children of wealthy and charming Hanna and Max Mogert. One day though, everything shifts. Bell takes a call from a clinic she has never heard of, saying that Hanna's husband is awake. And he is not Max. As the reality of Hanna's past emerges, there are terrible consequences, and Bell fears she will be caught in the emotional crossfire.

The Spanish Promise

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Spanish Promise

As one of Spain's richest men lies dying, his family is shocked that he plans to give away his fortune to a young woman they do not know. What is her secret and why does she have a hold on him? Charlotte Fairfax is asked to travel to the family home to investigate. It's the week before her wedding, but Charlotte thinks it will be an open and shut case. Over in Madrid though, the young woman in question knows nothing about the money she is to be bequeathed. Is she lying? As Charlotte digs further, some unsettling secrets are uncovered . . . 

The Greek Escape

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Greek Escape

Before a fresh start, there has to be an ending . . . Running from a tough heart break, Chloe Marston leaves her life in London for a new start in New York. In her role at a luxury concierge company, she makes the lives of others run smoothly, even if her own life seems to have stopped. But a dreadful accident forces Chloe to step into a different job, at the side of one of the company's most influential clients, charismatic Joe Lincoln. When Chloe's long-time love Tom shows up in Manhattan, she jumps ship to help Joe seek out a Greek holiday home. But as she begins to find Joe hard to resist, some questions about his past threaten to overwhelm the burgeoning chemistry between them. Just who can Chloe trust?

The Rome Affair

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Rome Affair

1974 and Elena Damiani lives a gilded life, born to wealth and a noted beauty, when she meets her love match who happens to be the one man she can never have.

2017 and Francesca Hackett is living in Rome, and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London, when she finds a stolen handbag. When she returns it to her neighbour - famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola, Elena is thrilled for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed. Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to work together asCesca interviews Elena for her memoirs. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena's life.

Summer at Tiffany's

by Karen Swan

Book cover for Summer at Tiffany's

Cassie loves Henry. Henry loves Cassie. With a Tiffany ring on her finger, all that Cassie has left to do is plan the wedding. It should be so simple but when Henry pushes for a date, Cassie pulls back. When Henry lands an expedition sailing the Pacific for the summer, Cassie decamps to Cornwall, hoping to find the peace of mind she needs to move forwards. But in the dunes and coves of the northern Cornish coast, she soon discovers the past isn't finished with her yet . . .

A story of love, laughter and happily ever after, Summer at Tiffany's by bestselling Karen Swan is the captivating and romantic sequel to Christmas at Tiffany's.

The Summer Without You

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Summer Without You

Rowena Tipton isn't looking for a new life, just a new adventure, something to while away the months as her long-term boyfriend presses pause on their relationship before they become engaged. But when a chance encounter at a New York wedding leads to an audition for a coveted houseshare in The Hamptons – suddenly a new life is exactly what she's got . . .


Karen Swan's cosy winter books

Midnight in the Snow

by Karen Swan

Book cover for Midnight in the Snow

Star director Clover Phillips is on a high when she encounters Kit Foley in the Austrian Alps; he is a surfer and snowboarder as renowned for controversy as he is for seizing championships. Kit has never spoken about his role in an accident that affected a sworn rival. Clover digs deeper despite Kit's reluctance, and finds herself both drawn to him, and sure that he is concealing a secret.

Together by Christmas

by Karen Swan

Book cover for Together by Christmas

When Lee first arrived in Amsterdam she had a new baby – and a secret. Now, five years on, she has got her life back. Her celebrity photographer career is on fire, and she is enjoying the pre-Christmas season with son Jasper and their friendship circle. But then Lee finds a book in her bicycle basket, scrawled with a desperate message. She hunts down the book's author Sam, and they instantly connect. But as the ice grows thicker on the canals, Lee's secrets begin to rise up. Christmas is about togetherness, but will telling the truth leave her all alone?

The Christmas Party

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Christmas Party

When Declan Lorne, Ireland's last knight, suddenly dies, his historic title dies with him. But his estate on the wild west coast of Scotland passes to his three daughters. To everyone's shock it is the youngest - Willow - who inherits the castle. But Willow has left her family swearing never to return, so she determines to sell the castle. As the prospective owner plans a lavish Christmas party, the three sisters are forced to take a long hard look at their past and their future . . .

The Christmas Lights

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Christmas Lights

Escape with an ideal winter's day indulgence, and run to the snowy fjords of Norway with The Christmas Lights, an enticing tale full of winter sparkle, yearning and optimism by Sunday Times bestseller Karen Swan. Bo is living her dream life. She and her boyfriend Zac are paid to travel, sharing their escapades with online followers. And when Zac proposes, things couldn't be better for Bo. Together they head to a hillside farmhouse in Norway, intent on a romantic Christmas break. But the mountains hold secrets, and as the temperatures drop the tensions rise. Is Bo's life quite as perfect as she thought?

The Christmas Secret

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Christmas Secret

Alex Hyde is a star executive coach: her waiting list is months' long, but even so she can't turn down the unusual but hugely lucrative offer that arrives just before Christmas. Renegade whisky executive Lochlan Farquhar wants to turn his company around. So Alex arrives in Islay with the snow falling around her, to be faced with the dark enigma that is Lochlan. Soon the professional edges blur, and Alex finds herself facing an impossible choice.

Christmas Under the Stars

by Karen Swan

Book cover for Christmas Under the Stars

In the Canadian Rockies, Meg and Mitch are living their dream. Just weeks away from their wedding, they work and play with Tuck and Lucy, their closest and oldest friends. 

But when a polar storm hits, tragedy strikes. Alone in the tiny mountain log cabin she shares with Mitch, Meg desperately tries to radio for help – and it comes from a lone voice across the airwaves that sees what she cannot.

As the snow melts and they try to live with their loss, the friendship Meg thought was forever is buckled by rivalries and devastating secrets. Nothing is as she thought and only her radio contact understands. As they share confidences in the dark, Meg is forced to consider a strange truth – is it her friends who are the strangers? And a stranger who really knows her best?

Christmas on Primrose Hill

by Karen Swan

Book cover for Christmas on Primrose Hill

Twinkling lights brighten London's Primrose Hill as Christmas nears – but for Nettie Watson, it's not parties and presents that she wants. For Nettie, Christmas only serves as a stark reminder of the life she used to have. One day she made a promise to never leave home, and so far she's stayed true to her word.

Under the glaring spotlight of the world's media, Nettie is unexpectedly caught up in a 21st century storm. Her exploits have made her a global name and attracted the attention of one of the world's most eligible men – famous front man, Jamie Westlake. But now she has his attention, does she want to keep it?

Christmas in the Snow

by Karen Swan

Book cover for Christmas in the Snow

In London, Allegra Fisher is pitching for the biggest deal of her career and can't afford to fail. And when she meets attractive stranger, Sam Kemp, on the plane to the meeting, she can't afford to lose her focus either. But when Allegra finds herself up against Sam for the bid, their passion quickly turns sour.

In the Swiss Alps, a long-lost mountain hut is discovered in the snow after sixty years and the last person expecting to become involved is Allegra – she hasn't even heard of the woman they found inside. But it soon becomes clear the two women are linked and, as she tries to make sense of the mystery, hearts thaw and dark secrets are uncovered, long buried by the snow.

Christmas at Tiffany's

by Karen Swan

Book cover for Christmas at Tiffany's

From rural Scotland to the most glamorous cities in the world, Christmas at Tiffany's is an exciting, globetrotting story of friendship and romance from Karen Swan.

Cassie settled down too young, marrying her first serious boyfriend. Now, ten years later, she is betrayed and broken. With her marriage in tatters and no career or home of her own, she needs to work out where she belongs in the world and who she really is. So begins a year-long trial as Cassie leaves her sheltered life to stay with each of her best friends in New York, Paris and London. Cassie tries on each city for size as she attempts to track down the life she was supposed to have been leading, and with it, the man who was supposed to love her all along.