This week I’ve been re-reading Milly Johnson’s 2012 Christmas themed novel, A Winter Flame.
Imagine Eve’s surprise and dismay, when her beloved aunt leaves her half of Winterworld, a Christmas theme park she was in the process of creating, in her will. Her dismay deepens, when she meets the man who’s inherited the other half, the mysterious, annoying, too charming, Jacques Glace.
Although she hates Christmas, Eve has never been one to back away from a challenge. The last thing she wants, however, is to have to work alongside this stranger she believes has wormed his way into her aunt’s will. Her suspicions grow about who he really is and she determines to show him up for the con-man he must be. Then she can take over and finish the plans for the park on her own and run it the way she thinks it should be run – more winter than Christmas.
But Eve didn’t bank on falling ill with a debilitating attack of shingles. While she is incapacitated, Jacques gets on with organising a much more Christmassy park than Eve wants and some hilarious arguments take place. Even more determined to get rid of him, she finds herself with the unexpected opportunity to have a snoop around his home, where she believes she might have finally found evidence of his criminal ways …
There’s a supporting cast of wonderfully vibrant characters – Loved-up Violet and Pav featured in the earlier novel, White Wedding. Phoebe May Tinker is Eve’s delightfully entertaining little niece. Effin Williams is the rough and ready foreman with a heart of gold, who swears his head off in Welsh at the band of Welsh and Polish workmen.
And then there’s the flame itself – a candle which her fiancé had bought her before leaving for Afghanistan, telling her that as long as it burned, she was his and he was hers. Eve has kept the flame of that candle and its replacements burning continuously for five years.
But five years is a long time. Is it now time for Eve’s frozen heart to melt? And could Jacques be the man to melt it ?
I’m posting this a few days early, this week, as I might not be anywhere near a computer on Sunday. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed re-reading some of my favourite Christmas novels, in the run up to the big day. Now let’s see what books Santa brings …
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and Happy New Year!