BOOK CLUB: The Winter We Met

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Every year, from 1 December, I start reading Christmas themed novels. It started ever since I read Grisham’s ‘Skipping Christmas’ while on a work trip overseas just days before Christmas. I had been so busy, I hadn’t got in the Christmas spirit, and somehow that book helped. Since then, I’ve used Christmas themed books to enjoy a bit of Christmas joy.

This year, I started early with ‘The Winter We Met’ by Samantha Tonge. This book was so much more than I expected. I just expected a simple girl meets boy romance book with some Christmas scenes, but it was richer than that. The characters were great, and there’s an Aussie character in this northern hemisphere based novel. I also loved the business talk through the novel. The toy shop perspective takes you back to your childhood and Willow Court, the aged care home, makes you ponder ageing – a real journey through this book.

Let me tell you what it’s all about:

Nik and Jess meet on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair. As they land, Jess invites him to visit the toy shop she works at. While they’re together, Jess finds out that Willow Court, her grandmother’s care home, is set to close before Christmas. Jess decides to throw the best Christmas party ever. Nik supports Jess all the way, working with her best friend, Oliver, to help her meet her goals in time for Christmas. Could it be a happy ever after story, or would that be too good to be true? 

I highly recommend this book if you like Christmas stories, the joy of toy shops, rich, interesting characters or just a feel-good cozy Winter story!

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading this with us, and they will leave their feedback in the comments section below.

Copies courtesy of Head of Zeus

14 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Winter We Met

  1. What a fantastic read leading up to Christmas. I really enjoyed “The winter we met’ by Samantha Tonge, and found it flowed nicely. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review this great book.

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to read The Winter We Met by Samantha Tonge.

    This was a wonderful ebook about Jess and Nik who meet after a toy fair. I thought this would be a large part of the book, but it is more a book of Jess’s grandmother’s nursing home Willow Court. She gets an email to advise the home is about to close and coming up to Christmas no-one is feeling the Christmas spirit. Jess and Nik help to organise a last Christmas party for all the residents for lasting memories. Jess’s flatmate Oliver and her workmate Seb also assist and it’s interesting to see how the dynamic works.

    Having relatives in a nursing home I really empathised with this side of the book and really wanted the party to be the best it could for all their sakes. There are so many characters in the nursing home I know, and this was really brought to life by Samantha.

    I would thoroughly recommend this book for any romance and Christmas lovers.

  3. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read and review The Winter We Met by Samantha Tonge.

    if you enjoy feel good Christmas stories then you will enjoy this book.

    While the story begins with Jess and Nik meeting on a plane after an international toy fair, the book rapidly becomes about the trauma felt by the residents of Jess’ Gran’s nursing home (Willow Court) after they are suddenly faced with the imminent closure of their home not long before Christmas. The dynamics are fascinating, the thoughtlessness of the nursing homes owners in the way they notify the residents, and begin removing things that make the place feel like home while the residents are still trying to come to terms with what has gone on. The staff who are losing their jobs, and yet are doing everything they can to make things easier for the residents. The residents who all respond in different ways to the news. Into this drama plunges Nik who seems to good to be true, he charms everyone he meets, dealing with those with dementia in the most amazingly gently way, ingratiating himself with even the surliest of the residents, and causing Alf (the conspiracy theorist) to start taking notes in his little book, and eventually reach the most startling conclusion.

    Meanwhile Jess is falling for Nik, egged on by her work colleague Seb, while at the same time her relationship with her house mate Oliver seems to be falling apart. Will Nik (with help from Jess, Seb and Oliver) create an early Christmas party that the residents will remember forever, or is Oliver’s distrust of him justified?

    It’s only towards the end of the book that it all comes together, but some of the messages within it, particularly about the way we interact with our older generation should be encouraging everyone of us to stop and think, and maybe approach some things and people differently.

    My only criticism of the book is in Tonge’s characterisation of Nik as an Australian. She suggests that Australians refer to Facebook as Facey, perhaps this is something endemic to the eastern coast of Australia, but as a South Australian I have never heard Facebook referred to as Facey. In the same vein she has Nik state that Australian’s celebrate two Christmases, one on December 25, but another one in July to get the whole having Christmas in the cold concept. Whilst I know that some do a Christmas in July get together, it is not widespread, and certainly does not provide a boom for retailers as suggested in the book.

    Leaving those anomalies aside the tale flowed well, Jess and Oliver were believable characters, Nik less so (nobody can be that nice) and the descriptions of the residents of the nursing home and their reactions to the closure of their home well done.

  4. I love a good Xmas romance in the months leading up to Xmas. The Winter We Met is a captivating story that starts when Jess and Nik meet on a plane on the way back from a Toy convention. Jess takes Nik to see the toy shop she works at but finds out that her grandma’s retirement home, Willow Court is set to close before Christmas. Jess with the help of Nik and her friends comes up with a plan to have a last Christmas Party for all the residents. It’s a beautiful story and shows how some of the older citizens in society are often forgotten. A nice heartwarming tale to get you in the mood for Xmas.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus for my ebook copy.

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