Thanks very much to the lovely Rachel for my spot on the Publication Day Push tour for The Winter We Met by Samantha Tonge.
When charming, mysterious Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.
As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen!
But time is running out with the closure looming and Jess becomes increasingly drawn to enigmatic Nik who joins forces with her and best friend Oliver to realise those plans.
Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?
This is my second novel by Samantha Tonge and I’m really just wondering why I haven’t read more, more, more?!
I enjoyed One Summer in Rome a coupe years ago and reading The Winter We Met reminded me just how well this author captures emotions and makes the reader feel them too.
Let’s start with the beautiful setting. I love an author who can create a delightful sense of space without having to waffle on for pages about paint colour and furniture textures. Samantha’s descriptions merge with the plot creating just the right ambiance to have you energised while overlooking a small town at sunset or feeling cozy in a cute pub.
There’s also mystery. Just what is the story with Nik? There are cues, clues and misdirections. I thought I had him sussed out by about a third of the way in, then I began to doubt myself and then… well, let’s just say you have to read the book to find out and enjoy even more.
Jess is such a sweet central character. She’s not had the easiest life but she’s resilient and determined to be happy while making her own way in this world. That determination may sometimes cloud her judgment and blind her to something beautiful right there in front of her. However, how her eyes are opened and how she discovers the magic of romance is delightful.
Then there are the charming cast at Willow Court, her grandmother’s care home. I loved how the author provides very convincing characters here. The realities of elderly persons living with dementia, heart illnesses, loneliness etc is touched on. I really enjoyed the ‘care facts’ and tools that are covered. I especially enjoyed how those details work with the story and never interrupt flow or setting.
And Christmas: It’s a Christmas story with a protagonist who works in a toy store while helping the residents of a care home plan their Christmas bash. The Christmas details are certainly jolly from the food to traditions to the gorgeous window displays… absolutely delightful.
I adored this story. The setting is perfect, the characters perfectly flawed and the feelings wonderfully real! I give The Winter We Met 4.5/5 espresso shots.
About the Author
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.
Social Media Links – Twitter: @SamTongeWriter
Blog Tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources