Christmas at Frozen Falls is a sweet Christmas read about healing, friendship, and the one who got away.
Initially, I wasn't a fan of this book. It starts off months after the infamous 'dumping before the wedding' and even though I can understand Sylvie being devastated by the loss of the future she thought she'd have, I couldn't understand how she was still so broken when the evil-dumper, Cole, was a complete jackass and his mother sounds like the mother-in-law from the deepest darkest depths of hell! Sylvie dodged a massive bullet and I didn't feel she was grieving over the loss of her fiance so much as the loss of a fantasy future, if that makes sense? She was more upset about the dog - totally understandable - and it made her melodrama tedious.
But then, she and her best friend decide to head to Finnish Lapland for Christmas and this gets Sylvie thinking about the Finnish guy she loved back in Uni - Stellen - and you feel that connection, that loss, fresh and aching even though their relationship had ended fifteen years ago! Thus the story got more interesting and Sylvie got less annoying.
When the resort they go to happens to be Stellen's resort, you know what's going to happen (and let's face it, it's in the blurb) but it doesn't detract from the sweet, wonderful, journey of falling in love again with the one who got away.
It was so easy while reading this book to get swept off to snow-covered forests under a glowing sky... To smell the crisp coldness of the snow mixed with pine sap. To imagine yourself snuggled in a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate beside a roaring fire.
It was magical, especially with the romance bubbling along beside you.
The ending had me smiling and happy but a little unsatisfied if I'm honest. Stellen and Sylvie had a happy for now ending. A nice, teasing, promise of a beautiful future if they could make it work. For some, that would be enough but I'm the type of gal who, in those circumstances, needs a flipping epilogue reassuring me that everything does indeed end happily.
Let's face it, people don't read romance for a reality check! Give us a cast-iron happy ever after, dammit!
Regardless of my minor grumbles, I recommend it if you want a mental trip to Lapland this year to play in the snow and play with some husky dogs!
Coming Home to Glendale Hall was another slow starter but once it got going I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a family driven story packed full of festive goodness, healing and forgiveness.
There is a second chance romance that wasn't as straight forward as I was anticipating (bit of a love-triangle) but it felt like it was secondary to the family and community driven elements of the book.
It was a surprisingly emotional and uplifting read packed full of the magic of Christmas.
The characters were likeable and relatable, even the ones who were doing, or had done, things that weren't so nice.
The setting was beautiful... Glendale Hall felt like a character in itself, although the regularity of snow was a little bit unrealistic even for the Scottish Highlands! But it gave the story an extra sprinkling of magic so I can't complain too much.
I guess the thing that irked me about the story was the pseudo-love triangle and the constant repetition of things we already knew.
Not to mention the fact that the entire plot would have fallen apart if the parents of the 16-year-old (who ran away to London to have a baby all alone!) had just a long and honest conversation with their daughter at some point over the course of the 10 years she was gone!
But hey ho.
Minor irks do not take away from the fact that this was a lovely read that gave me all the festive feels.