When this book came out in hardback last year, I waited eagerly but patiently for the paperback release (to complete my collection of Milly’s paperbacks). And what a perfect time of year to read it. Not only is it the perfect Christmas book, but I also happened to read most of it over the weekend where we ended up in a temporary winter wonderland with 3 days of snow (and as the plot of this book played out in real life at the Tan Hill pub).
I don’t think I could ever not love a book by Milly – she writes the most beautiful romantic fiction filled with real characters who you can actually relate to (not just blonde leggy 20-somethings from London/New York as seem to be most romance characters).
And the characters in this book might just be my favourite yet. Six characters are all driving close to Christmas when a freak snowstorm seems them stranded in a village pub together to wait for the snow to retreat and the roads to be driveable. There’s no-one else in the pub (and seemingly not in the village either), but the pub is fully stocked with all the food and drink they could need to get them through a Christmas together.
So together in the pub we have Bridge and Luke – soon to be ex-husband-and-wife. They were supposed to be meeting to sign their divorce papers and being stuck together seems like their idea of a nightmare, especially for Bridge who can’t stand the sight of Luke and the fact he seems to have moved on from their marriage.
We also have Jack and Mary. Jack owns a factory that produces scones and he is on the way to an important business meeting with his assistant Mary. Mary has been in love with Jack for four years and this could be a great opportunity for her – but Jack doesn’t seem to notice her as a woman, just as the person who sorts his diary. And he can’t seem to disconnect from work for even two minutes.
And finally we have Charlie and Robin. They were on their way to Scotland for a snow-filled holiday with all the trimmings. Being stuck in a village pub hardly seems like a good substitute, but it seems like it might be all they ever needed, no matter what they are going through.
And over the time that they’re stuck in the pub together, we see each of the characters growing and changing – in ways we might expect, but also with some very unexpected twists.
Often when reading a book with a series of characters, it’s very easy to have a couple of characters that you don’t get on with, but I found all six to be intriguing and flawed, but beautiful in their own ways.
I won’t give away any spoilers, but I truly feel like this was a magical book, filled with the heart and soul of Christmas – a perfect read for this time of year. I was lost in the book for a weekend and it was just what I needed – thanks Milly for yet another fabulous read!