Thursday 21 March 2013

Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones

I’m lying on a bed of ice. Literally a huge block of king-size ice, sculpted into the form of a hefty four-poster and polished to such a gloss and gleam it more closely resembles glass.
Published by Hodder and Stoughton  in November 2012
Pages - 297
Imagine waking up in a snow globe...
That’s how travel journalist Krista feels when she arrives in magical Quebec to report on Canada's glittering Winter Carnival.
Over ten sub-zero days Krista's formerly frozen heart begins to melt as she discovers an enchanting world of ice palaces, husky dog-sledding and maple-syrup treats galore. And then she meets Jacques, a man as handsome and rugged as he is mysterious…
The two share a secret that could bond them forever, but can they find a way to break through the protective layers around their hearts to warm up this winter wonderland?
…let the snow-spangled adventure begin.
You honestly can’t fault this author for her magical descriptions. The way she writes about Quebec’s Winter Carnival, you would think you were entering Disney World on Ice. Seriously it sounds stunning and I only wish it could be that magical in real life. Not that I would know personally, but I have read it isn’t as stunning, which is a real shame. Perhaps Belinda Jones should be in charge of planning and development for their next event.
Straight away, you find yourself sitting in a  room made of ice with Krista and you can almost feel the chill yourself. You find yourself reaching for your hot water bottle and hoping you have seen the last of the snow.
As I mentioned earlier, the descriptions are just stunning. The author knows  how to bring a place alive and you are given a detailed analysis of what the city is like. You can tell the author knows her stuff. Her characters are quirky, enigmatic and  extremely entertaining. Many a page, I was caught by a fit of giggles. Krista, the main character is slightly annoying in her need to sort out everyone’s problems. Normally that wouldn’t bother me but she had known these people barely a week. I would have told her to keep her nose out personally.
I learnt so much about Cirque De Soleil. I hadn’t realised that they had originated from Quebec. The information provided about the company was truly fascinating, especially the charity work they have fulfilled so far.
Where the descriptions and characters are brilliant, unfortunately the plot lets the story down. The second half of the book fell flat for me and didn’t really have anything of interest going on it.  I actually struggled to finish it. Relationships were easily mended, no real conflict to entice you in and the main character had fallen in love within in days. Everything appeared rushed and tied up far too nicely by the end and I felt  unsatisfied with how things had progressed. I honestly feel the author got so wrapped up in the detail of the setting, she lost sight of what was actually happening to the characters.
Such a promising start, ruined by a disappointing end.

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