We’re delighted to be sharing Elena’s thoughts about The Winter We Met by Samantha Tonge on the Rachel’s Random Resources tour.
Jess Jagger sits in the wrong seat on the plane on her way back from a toy fair in Germany (she manages a toy shop). She sits next to a handsome and funny Australian, Nik, who was also in Germany for the fair, researching toys for his family business. They hit it off straight away and Jess is attracted to his warm easy-going nature and handsome good looks. They arrange to meet up again and it’s clear that there are sparks between them.
Oliver is Jess’s flat mate and best friend. He just isn’t sucked in by Nik’s charming demeanour and he cannot keep his feelings under wraps.
It is clear that Jess has some baggage and as we read on we discovered that she was raised by her grandmother, Alice. Alice lives in an assisted living facility and it’s obvious that her grandmother and all the other residents are a huge part of Jess’s life. When it becomes apparent that the home is to be closed down and turned into a hotel with only a few weeks notice, the residents lives are turned upside down. Jess, Oliver and Nik are determined to make sure their much anticipated Christmas party goes ahead before they are turfed out.
This is a heartwarming, funny and cosy book which I devoured. Nik did seem too good to be true to me and I was ‘Team Oliver’ throughout wondering what Nik was hiding. The way he charmed everybody around him raised my suspicions and one of the care home’s residents, Alf concocts a theory about him towards the end of the book which made me laugh out loud and hope was true!
I loved the main character Jess from the very beginning. I particularly loved how she was so happy in her job in the toy shop and had worked there for years. I felt sorry for the unhappy childhood she had before she went to live with Alice and desperately wanted things to turn out well for both of them.
My absolute favourite parts of the story took place in the residential home with the depictions of its inhabitants, Glenda (aloof), Betty (suffering from dementia), Alf (conspiracy theorist) and Alice. They were all wonderful and I loved how they rallied together to make their much anticipated Christmas party go ahead.
The Winter We Met is just heavenly from start to finish and I was completely sucked in by the gorgeous cover. The lovable characters and cosy Christmas theme are just like a warm hug and I thoroughly recommend escaping into its pages.
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris, and has travelled widely. When not writing she loves family time, reading and baking. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014 her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Ebook Award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award. In 2020 she won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award with her novel Knowing You, from publisher Canelo. Twitter: @SamTongeWriter Instagram: @samanthatongeauthor Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor/