We meet Eve Douglas as she’s waiting at the solicitors after the death of her beloved great aunt Evelyn, who in the later months of her life, developed an obsession with Christmas. Expecting to be left her locket, she’s in total shock when she finds out that Evelyn bought land in the 60’s and has started a Christmas theme park … and another shock that Jacques Glace has been willed the other half (as well as half of the few million). Eve knows nothing about him but has to decide whether to partner him or resign.
Before meeting Jacques, Eve goes off on a research trip taking best friend Alison’s daughter, Phoebe. “White Christmas” is in the public eye for all the wrong reasons. She knows she can do a lot better. Her first meeting with Jacques is hilarious! He makes a very bold statement on leaving…
There is much more to A Winter Flame than Eve’s dislike of Christmas and a frozen heart (although obviously central … as not only did Jonathan die on Christmas Day but even before that, her childhood experiences left a negative feeling about everything surrounding the festive season). There are sub-plots weaving through. Eve’s cousin Violet is one of them. I cheered when I realised that Violet and Pav from White Wedding are also characters (you can read my review here). Max and Bel make a brief appearance too. I loved this. We continue finding our more about Violet’s relationship, which is nail-biting at one point and caused me tears of happiness at another.
Jacques is such an intriguing character. How did he know great aunt Evelyn? Why won’t he talk about his past? What is he hiding? This kept me hooked all the way through the story.
You all know I love to see a character grow and come into their own. Eve certainly does that with the help of Winterworld. There are some really touching moments with the reindeers and Christopher the snow pony. Santa makes her pause and reflect as well. Winterworld is an amazing invention … I could just imagine myself walking through the enchanted forest with Eve and feeling the magic tingling on my skin.
Magic … there is also a sense of the paranormal in a couple of scenes. I love the way Johnson adds these scenes to her stories.
I can’t finish my review without mentioning the humour. As well as Johnson’s inimitable humour throughout, her creation of the Daily Trumpet and the mistakes they make are hilarious (although one of the misprints is quite a major error in delaying knowledge – this thread is very cleverly crafted).
A Winter Flame is a seasonal tale that deals realistically and sensitively about bereavement and letting go, age differences in relationships, the parenting patterns that are inherited from previous generations … and living life to the full. It’s about family, friendships and love. It’s heart-warming and gives hope. I’ve been totally engrossed and have no hesitation in recommending A Winter Flame. This is definitely a story I will read again.
I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.