**We were gifted an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
Christmas is my favourite time of year and this year it’s safe to say we all need some of those magical Christmas feels as 2020 has been awful. I always enjoy starting my Christmassy reads early to get myself in the mood and wile away those not so nice Autumn days with the promise of some sparkle awaiting me as I head into December. One of my recent reads is this brand new festive read from one of my favourite authors Samantha Tonge and today I’m thrilled to be part of the Publication Day Push, sharing my review. Thanks to Rachel for inviting me to take part in this tour.
About The Book
When charming, mysterious Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.
As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen!
But time is running out with the closure looming and Jess becomes increasingly drawn to enigmatic Nik who joins forces with her and best friend Oliver to realise those plans.
Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?
Travelling alone is never much fun, but Jess finds herself sat next to chatty Aussie Nik on the return flight after a work conference and the two hit it off. With their shared line of work the pair find the time flies past and before they know it they have touched down in London. Realising their chance meeting was something special and not wanting their time together to end Jess decides to invite Nik to spend some time with her whilst he is working in London, hoping to develop the blossoming friendship.
It’s the countdown to Christmas, but Jess finds herself unable to celebrate after the news that her beloved Grandmother’s Alice’s care facility is to be closed in a matter of weeks to make way for a luxury hotel. She finds herself juggling the pressure of managing a toy shop in the run up to Christmas with the need to find alternative accommodation for Alice and is more than happy to accept the offer of help from Nik, whose full of amazing ideas including a last hurrah Christmas party. But, is there an ulterior motive behind his interest in Willow Court and it’s residents and how much does Jess really know about this mysterious stranger?
The Winter We Met is filled to the absolute brim with all the festive feels, with community and Christmas spirit leaking from every page. Whilst there is a romantic element to this story, like many of Sam’s other books this is only a small part of what we get as a reader. There are a whole host of colourful character’s, especially the older residents of Willow Court, that just come to life thanks to Sam’s beautifully written character development. It was these insights into the character’s highs and lows that helped give me that special heartwarming glow, as I learnt of their individual struggles as well as how they all pulled together as a community to over come problems.
Nik is an interesting character and the way he is written into the story left me guessing and continually changing my mind about his real intentions when it came both to his relationship with Jess as well as his befriending of the residents. He is a real mystery for most of the book with snippets of insight littered throughout and only really coming to fruition during the last few chapters, keeping me frantically turning the pages!
As for the romance in this book it isn’t your usual scenario and I really liked that it surprised me by deviating from the usual formula books of this genre use. One of my favourite aspects of the story though was the special goodbye Christmas party planned at Willow Court as it is It’s A Wonderful Life themed! Confession time….. I only watched this film for the first time last year and I absolutely adored it – it had a bigger impact on me that I thought! I enjoyed how Sam used aspects from the film along the way to weave into the mystery and it helped ramp up the feels on the Christmas meter!
I say it every time I read a new book by Sam, but The Winter We Met is now my favourite of her books. It has all the perfect elements to make the perfect cosy read and I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of the most Chrissmassy books I’ve read and I am going to be re-reading this again in December to give myself a ‘top-up’ of feel -good festive vibes. If you are looking for something to lose yourself in for a while then this is the perfect read and I highly, highly recommend it!
About The Author
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris, and has travelled widely. When not writing she loves family time, reading and baking. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014 her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Ebook Award.
In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.
In 2019 she was shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award.
In 2020 she won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award with her novel Knowing You, from publisher Canelo.
The Winter We Met is available to purchase now from Amazon*