'Tis the season to be jolly...But can Eve find happiness through the frost...? Eve has never liked Christmas, not since her beloved fiance was killed in action in Afghanistan on Christmas Day. So when her adored elderly aunt dies, the last thing she is expecting is to be left a theme park in her will. A theme park with a Christmas theme...And that's not the only catch. Her aunt's will stipulates that Eve must run the park with a mysterious partner, the exotically named Jacques Glace. Who is this Jacques, and why did Aunt Evelyn name him in her will? But Eve isn't going to back down from a challenge. She's determined to make a success of Winterworld, no matter what. Can she overcome her dislike of Christmas, and can Jacques melt her frozen heart at last...?"
Milly Johnson is one of my favourite all time chick lit authors, and I have loved every single book she has written so far. I love when she releases a new one as it means I'm guaranteed a brilliant new book to enjoy, and when I found out that Milly's latest book was a Christmas release, I was even more pleased as I love festive books! I have to say the style of Milly's book covers are gorgeous, and the cover for A Winter Flame is beautiful, with shiny silver snowflakes really standing out against the pure white of the rest of the cover. I eagerly sat down with the book this weekend, and managed to devour the whole book this weekend... it's just fantastic!
Eve hates Christmas, and does her best to ignore the whole thing, preferring to spend the day itself at home on her own, pretending it isn't Christmas. Eve hates it so much because her fiancé Jonathan, a soldier at war in Afghanistan, was killed in action on Christmas Day, and now she can't bear to be happy. When a winter-themed fun park is left to her in her aunt's will, Eve thinks her worst nighmare has come true... especially when she finds out that half of the park has been left to a complete stranger, Jacques Glace. Can Eve make Winterworld a success for the sake of her Aunt, and will Jacques be able to help Eve mend her heart once and for all?
As well as being a festive themed book, Milly did something I really love when writing this book... bringing back characters from past books and updating us on them. An important character in this book is Violet and her boyfriend Pav, who you will remember originally meeting in her last book, White Wedding. It turns out she is related to Eve, and is a big part of the story, and I really enjoyed a familiar face in this book, and it was nice to read about the next stage of their story .We also find a mention of the other characters, Bel and Max too. Eve and Jacques are perfectly crafted characters for this book, and aptly named for the theme of the book too I must say! Eve is a very damaged character, haunted by the loss of her beloved fiancé and so shuts herself off emotionally from everything as a result. We can all see why she's damaged but at the same time, I wanted her to break out from that and show us a happier side once in a while!
The idea of WinterPark was fantastic, and Milly must have had such fun writing about it, and really getting creative with lots of winter and Christmas themed ideas! I wish there was such a place for us to really visit, because it certainly came fully to life in my head as I was reading, and sounded like the perfect place to go in this cold weather we're experiencing at theh moment! Even the smaller minor characters involved at the park, from Effin the foreman to Holly the reindeer, are all vitally important and put a smile on your face. It's actually the quieter more emotional scenes which really tug at your heart strings... one with Eve and Holly in particular is very touching, and reveals a lot more about Eve's character and her past with Jonathan. The relationship between her and Jacques was very readable too, and I enjoyed reading about the pair of them, especially Jacques who it seemed had more to him that meets the eye.
Johnson has created a book that will warm your heart on cold autumn and winter evenings, and is a complete joy from start to finish. With a cast of characters that you will really care about, and more importantly want to read about, A Winter Flame is an utterly charming book that you won't want to put down. Everything about it is wonderful, with WinterPark being the highlight of the whole thing, and the festive spirit shines through every single page. The military theme running through too is very current and relevant, and makes you realise how hard it is on those left behind when these brave soldiers go to war, especially when they sadly don't return. It's an emotional but thoroughly enjoyable novel that will leave a smile on your face, and with a warm, cosy feeling side. Milly Johnson at her best, an excellent read!
You can buy A Winter Flame as a paperback or an eBook now.