Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Melody Carlson's Once Upon A Winter's Heart ~ Reviewed

Once Upon A Winter's Heart
By Melody Carlson
Pages 160
Release Date Nov 1, 2013
Publisher Warner/Faith Books
ISBN 1455528110

Emma Burcelli has given up on romance. Not just because she's suffered over a decade of dating disasters. Not because her parents' marriage ended on New Year's Eve. No, Emma concludes that love is officially dead when her grandfather Poppi passes away, leaving the last true romantic's other half, Nona Burcelli, devastated.

Emma helps by working in the family's bookstore, which Nona insists must be completely decked out in sweetheart decor as Poppi would have done for Valentine's Day. Although Emma feels like a V-Day Scrooge, she quickly learns to enjoy the task with the aid of a handsome volunteer and friend of Poppi's, Lane Forester. As Emma spends time with Lane, sharing stories about Poppi, ice skating in the street, and hanging hearts to the tune of Dean Martin, she reconsiders the possibility that romance is alive.

But just as Emma's heart begins to lift she learns her sister has already staked a claim on Lane's affections. Emma's mother and sister insist Lane only sees her as a future sister-in-law, but Emma can't help wondering if it could be something more.


Emma's life is in transition and somewhere along the way she has lost all hope in the possibility of happy-ever-afters. 

Out of family obligation and after quitting her job she trudges to her grandmother's home to help grandma deal with the loss of the last true romantic man in the world. Emma discovers that her mother is going to be bunking with them as well. Her own parents are calling it quits. 

With heavy heart and a belly full of bitter thoughts Emma heads to the family bookstore to pick up the Valentine decorating gauntlet. A friend of her grandfather lives above the bookstore and stops in because the lights are on. Lane stays to help because Valentine's Day was Poppi's favorite holiday. Emma and Lane spend a romantic evening decorating. 

Emma wakes with a new spring in her step and a flicker of hope in her heart until she finds out Lane is her sister's love interest. 

Lovers of sweet romance should find much to like in this little novel. Emma struggles with feeling like the ugly duckling and carrying around the burden of not believing in love. By the book's end she had bloomed. Plenty of sister and mom drama fills the novel so those who appreciate a little sisterly sparring will appreciate this element.  Fans of wine and chocolate and Dean Martin will likely love this sweet little read. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Bonus Review:

Emma Burcelli has just quit her job in the big city to move in with her grandma, in a smaller town atmosphere.  Her grandfather just passed away, and Emma wants to be there for her grandma, not only to help her through her loss, but to help run the bookstore her grandfather left behind.  It’s nearing Valentine’s day, and not only is Emma depressed due to the loss of her Grandfather, but her parents and her sister and her husband have separated.  When you through in Emma’s disastrous love life, we find her ready to completely dismiss the holiday, until she meets young family friend, Lane Forester.  Much to her surprise, she finds herself attracted to him, only to find out her younger sister already has her sights on him.  Emma tries her best to stay in the background, not wanting to break up a relationship, yet she has a hard time denying her feelings.

This was a fun read.  The storyline kept moving well, and I loved the characters, except for Emma’s sister.  But that’s only because she was a spoiled brat!  I loved the idea of a small town, family bookstore, too. This was a great, lighthearted book and I think anyone would enjoy reading it!
Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Bonus Review:

Melody Carlson packs more story into a book than Reese packs sweet into a Peanut Butter Cup. Once Upon a Winter's Heart will delight yours with this romantic Valentine novella. Novel Rocket and I give it our highest recommendation. It's a must read.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

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