Thursday, 1 September 2016

Book Review - A Winter Affair by Minna Howard - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title:  A Winter Affair
Author: Minna Howard
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 1st September 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

A wonderful warm, seasonal treat, whisking you on a magical adventure to the Swiss Alps. Full of food, laughter and fun. Perfect for the fans of Trisha Ashley.

With a recent divorce and empty nest Eloise Brandon is facing Christmas alone until a harried phone call from her godfather changes everything.

Accepting his challenge, Eloise finds herself en-route to Verbier and to her godfathers chalet in the beautiful Swiss Alps to help cater for some seriously rich, high rolling guests.

What ensues makes it a Christmas to remember. A heady alpine mixture of old friends, ex-husbands, mega-rich, super demanding guests, a dishevelled proprietor and Bert the dog.

For a wintery/festive book that I read at in early August, thankfully the Christmas angle wasn't too involved, and it was far more a story set in a ski resort, featuring the wonders of Verbier, some great food, skiing and drama, that just happens to occur in the last weeks of December rather than Christmas being the focal point. 

I'm happy to read wintery books at any time of the year, so this worked out really well for me, and I loved the story. Arguably the slight romance involved may have been a bit predictable but it was a very slow burner and the true feelings take a long while to become apparent. 

It is far more a story about the Jacaranda, the chalet in Verbier, Swiss Alps, that Eloise's godfather owns. He persuades his son Lawrence that Eloise is a top level cook, and could solve his chef issues over Christmas, until the new professional one arrives. One slight problem is that Eloise although she did a Cordon Bleu course once, tends to cook more for friends and family, and doesn't really have the confidence to do anything overly pretentious. 

She though agrees to the plan, as she was going to otherwise be home alone over Christmas, as she is recently divorced, and her twins are on a gap year. Off to a rocky start, I loved seeing Verbier through Eloise's eyes, and it was fabulous for her to have an old friend in the resort too. 

The main set of guests in the chalet are an absolute nightmare to deal with, so of course they produce all the drama and humour in the story. There is plenty of drama as you may expect on ski slopes, and with the chalet having financial problems this set of guests are the sort that could make or break the Jacaranda entirely. 

I loved Bert, the chalet's dog, Theo, Lawrence's grandson is a warm character, as is Vera the cleaner, who has fabulous insights into some of the guests personalities. The setting is superb and I'm glad to say we get plenty of skiing and not too much of the apres ski drinking that sometimes fills books about ski chalets, probably due to the more mature age of the main characters. 

There is plenty of food, all of which sounded not only delicious but that would certainly fill you after a hard day on the slopes. I really did enjoy the whole of A Winter Affair, which is the first book I have read by the author, and as my first winter or festive book of the season, its certainly given me a promising start to the Christmas book season 2016!

Thank you to Aria and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Happy publication day to Minna Howard. A Winter Affair is out now! 

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