This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay Brooks
For Eve, Christmas is the worst time of year. Her Christmases as a child have been full of disappointment and as an adult full of heartbreak, so it’s no wonder she prefers to spend the day hidden inside alone. When her beloved Aunt Evelyn passes away, Eve is surprised to hear at the will reading that she has been left a Christmas themed amusement park. Eager to sell the park on as soon as possible, Eve is told by the solicitor that she must either complete and run the theme park or sign it over to the other recipient of the gift, the mysterious and hereto unknown co-owner Jacque Glace. Who is Jacque Glace and what was Evelyn thinking? Can a stranger and the spirit of Christmas finally melt Eve’s frozen heart?
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With Milly Johnson’s novels, to some extent, I know what to expect. They are full of warmth, friendship, fun and happy-endings. A Winter Flame is no exception. Eve is a sad character who has closed herself off to other people, even isolating those relatives who do care about her. In doing so, she has also failed to be there for them in their times of need. News of the Christmas theme park forces her to reassess her situation and come into contact with the outside world.
The reader learns early on that Eve lost her fiancé to the war in Afghanistan on Christmas day and doesn’t believe she will ever find that kind of love again. She has a flame that has burned endlessly since he left as she swaps candles without fail. Jacque is a whirlwind of good-natured humour and seasonal merriment who sweeps into Eve’s life uninvited but Eve is suspicious. Granted she didn’t visit her grandma as often as she should have before Evelyn died, but his name had not been mentioned to her before. Eve can’t help but wonder if Jacque’s presence in Evelyn’s life was deliberate and malicious, especially when she reads about a trickster using a similar name to con elderly people out of money.
Eve quickly learns that the park is not complete and, together, she and Jacque have to learn to compromise on making it a success before Christmas arrives. This brings a collection of unusual and funny characters into the fray, including Eve’s god-daughter, Phoebe, and the foul-mouthed, Welsh-speaking foreman, aptly named Effin. There’s also a reappearance of some familiar characters from a previous novel in the form of Violet, Pav, Bell and Max.
This is a perfect wintery read, complete with intrigue, excitement and romance. I would recommend A Winter Flame to everybody who likes a read to make them feel all warm and fuzzy!