Friday, 25 November 2016

Book Review - Once Upon A Winter by Tilly Tennant

Amazon UK
Title: Once Upon a Winter
Author: Tilly Tennant
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Lawsome Books
Publication Date: 13th October 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Snow is falling and Christmas day is in full swing at Hannah Meadows’s rural home. But the usual preparations for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and lashings of festive booze are interrupted by an unexpected knock at the door. And there on the doorstep they find a handsome stranger with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there, begging for their help. 

So begins a winter like no other – one that turns all their lives upside down. For Hannah and her sister Gina, the stranger’s arrival might herald the prospect of love and healing for the hurt caused by messy break-ups. For Jess, Gina’s teenaged daughter, however, it signals dark times and discontent. There are new friends and enemies for them all and a new outlook on the world – and when the stranger’s memories finally return, there is heartache too.

If they can all weather the storm, happiness could be theirs. But storms this big can cause a lot of damage and chaos before they blow over... 

Once Upon A Winter is the combined novel of the four previously released parts, plus a brand new extra part just for this omnibus edition. If you had considered reading each part separately rest assured they would all work as little standalone novellas that are best to be read in order. 

I chose to read it as the full omnibus and I'm glad that I did, as it felt like a full book this way, which just happened to have its parts named! 

I loved this book, it is the story of sisters Gina and Hannah, and Gina's teenage daughter Jess, following their winter, starting with a most unusual Christmas day. Quite early into the story, this had me thinking, as what would you do if you lived in a remote area, and a stranger turns up on your doorstep on Christmas Day, in the snow, clearly injured and also apparently suffering from amnesia. As this is what sets into action a whole chain of coincidences and new romances. 

There is a great case of character's and some of Hannah's neighbours are fantastic. It takes a while for me to warm to the stranger on the doorstep, but soon I was interested in his life, and there is a couple of fantastic and gripping storylines that he is involved in. 

Ross and his family are a delight to read about they all seem to be genuinely nice people, which is something that hasn't escaped Gina's attention. 

Each part has its own little main story arcs, while progressing the main story along well. The whole book is easy to read, and I loved the location of the village just outside Millrise. Millrise has of course featured in many of Tilly Tennant's books. 

I think I loved the first part the best, followed by the added extra section for this edition, which gave a good rounding off of the characters lives, and gave me a good sense of closure, and had me smiling a lot. At some point in the middle, I did feel like the story was dragging slightly, possibly just because it was complicated and not explained as well as perhaps it could have been. 

Really did enjoy the majority of the story though, and was surprised with some of the twists along the way. Gina's ex husband is a nasty piece of work, as is another partner that features. Definitely a couple of baddies in with all the goodness and warmth of the story. 

Once Upon a Winter is the sort of book that could keep you cool on a hot summers day, or if read in winter will provide a good backdrop and alternative to the outside world!

Thank you to Lawsome Books and Netgalley for my copy of the book. This is my honest opinion. 

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