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Kat's Review of Once Upon a Winter by Tilly Tennant

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Synopsis: Snow is falling and Christmas day is in full swing at Hannah Meadows’s rural home. But the usual preparations for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and lashings of festive booze are interrupted by an unexpected knock at the door. And there on the doorstep they find a handsome stranger with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there, begging for their help. 

So begins a winter like no other – one that turns all their lives upside down. For Hannah and her sister Gina, the stranger’s arrival might herald the prospect of love and healing for the hurt caused by messy break-ups. For Jess, Gina’s teenage daughter, however, it signals dark times and discontent. There are new friends and enemies for them all and a new outlook on the world – and when the stranger’s memories finally return, there is heartache too.

If they can all weather the storm, happiness could be theirs. But storms this big can cause a lot of damage and chaos before they blow over... 

Kat's Rating: 4/5

Kat's Review: I have read a couple of books of Tilly Tennats and have enjoyed them both so was looking forward to this Christmas themed book. I realised that this book was initially released in 4 parts, however I read it as a whole book. Just make sure if you are buying from Amazon that you get the whole book and not just one part.

The scene is certainly set in this book for the theme surrounding Christmas as in Hannah Meadow's rural home its just herself along with her sister Gina and Niece Jess on Christmas Day. They plan to do nothing more that eat and drink in front of rubbish TV, especially as the snow is not only falling but settling making it impossible to go anywhere. However, a knock on the door is about to change their easy and lazy day they have planned. When a handsome man turns up on the doorstep with a head injury and zero memory their day starts to get rather more interesting.

Hannah was a character I found easy to read but in all honesty it was her older and more bossy sister Gina I fell in love with. Between the two of them with the occasional unhelpful input from teenager Jess, they end up spending a little time getting to know the mystery man. This seems to be the start of a very strange Christmas that leads into lots more strange events that seem to surround the two women. We get to meet Hannah's neighbour George, as well as Briony & Paul who live on a nearby farm and their son Ross who also works and lives on the Farm.

I have to be honest and say that I found the beginning chunk of this hard to get in to, however once I was past the initial quarter I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a bit of a slow starter and initially I didn't have any feelings for the man with no memory. Luckly as you read on and get to know the sisters and additional character more it flowed so well that I think I read the second half of the book in one sitting.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read if a bit slow to start. I loved the additional bit you get at the end (which if I understand correctly you don't get if brought as short versions). I will look forward to Tilly's next release!

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