Book: 400 pages (eBook and paperback)
Publisher: Avon (eBook 29th October 2020, paperback 12th November 2020)
Hannah and Nico are meant to be together.
But fate is keeping them apart…
As soon as Hannah bumps into her brother Rob’s best friend Nico in Stockholm, the two rekindle a fast friendship. But Hannah has a boyfriend – and Nico has two children to look after.
When Hannah loses her beloved shop in Stockholm, though, she is forced to move back to the little village of Middledip – only to find Nico has just moved in too. Under the same snowy sky, can the childhood friends make a romance work – or are there too many obstacles standing in their way?
After a flurry of reading activity mid-October, I hit a reading wall meaning this review is about 2 weeks later than I had hoped it would be. I wanted to read this book, I was looking forward to reading it but something in my brain blocked me from doing so! I eventually sat down, picked it up and forced myself to read – and I am glad I did! It was unputdownable.
I thought long and hard about calling it that. Usually I would say “an easy read” or “a cosy read” but I recently read an article by another women’s fiction author and this was fresh in my head when I read this book and it made me stop and think about using terminology like that (more about that in a future blog!). This story addresses quite a few tough, hard hitting – often taboo – subjects; male eating disorders, single parenthood, single dads, addiction, manipulating/controlling relationships and child neglect.
The story starts in Sweden in mid October. Hannah is living her dream – she lives with her rich boyfriend in a swanky apartment, she has her dream business and she loves living in Sweden. One cold day, an old friend of her brother’s (Nico) breezes into her shop and they rekindle their friendship over lunch. A few weeks later and Hannah is back in the UK for her brother’s wedding, her boyfriend has stayed behind in Sweden and she is questioning the future of her relationship. Upon her return to Sweden, the rug is pulled from under her and she finds herself back in England sooner than she had anticipated. Meanwhile, Nico finds himself trying to juggle being a single dad, working full-time, his expensive mortgage and a difficult situation with his ex-wife and her illegitimate child – he decides to take drastic action!
I really loved watching the story unfold – especially the warm relationship between Hannah and her family and between Nico, his daughter Josie and her sister Maria. The jumps between Sweden and England (sometimes in dialogue and traditions, other times a physical move between the two countries) are fantastic and are really well researched. I found myself putting Stockholm on my list of places to visit once ‘this’ is finally over!! The scenes with Nico’s family are really heartwarming and their acceptance of his unusual circumstances was really well written.
Interestingly, one of my most used pieces of advice appeared in this book: “Put your own oxygen mask on first”. Very sound advice!
This book is a really lovely, Christmassy story – it ticks all the boxes: Snow, family, community, high drama, romance, travel (drug addiction, child neglect, eating disorders….). Definitely a book I will come back to again next year to get me in the mood for Christmas. Now, who’s for a hot chocolate?
To buy this book, please click one of the links below:
To buy from Waterstones (affiliate link)
To buy from Gullivers Books (my local independent book shop)
Or to order from an independent bookshop, please click here to go to Bookshop.org