Emma Burcelli has suffered over a decade of dating disasters. But she concludes that love is officially dead when her grandfather Poppi suddenly passes, leaving her grandmother Nona devastated. To help out, Emma works in the family bookstore, which Nona insists must be decked out in sweetheart décor as Poppi would have done for Valentine’s Day. Although she feels like a Valentine’s Day Scrooge, Emma quickly learns to enjoy the task with the help of a handsome family friend, Lane Forester, who shows her that hanging hearts is much more fun when done to the tune of Dean Martin. As Emma and Lane share time and memories of Poppi, she reconsiders the notion that romance is alive. Just as Emma’s heart begins to lift, however, she learns her sister has already staked a claim on Lane. Emma’s mother and sister insist Lane only sees her as a future sister-in-law, but she can’t help wondering if it could be something more. (From Netgalley.com)
Bubby: My heart is all warm and fuzzy after reading Once Upon A Winter’s Heart. I feel the need to play Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra music at loud volume and dance about my kitchen. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this story. Delicious!
Sissy: Okay. Bubby just put on the Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra Pandora mix. So here we go. Do you remember the movie Return To Me with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny? This story kinda has that background feel. It lifted me up and made me happy in the magical way that few books can. Some reviews I’ve read of this kind of book are very critical of the fact that they prefer their romance with lots of sex and/or heavy duty dark subject matter.
Bubby: Not us! There’s a reason why our blog is called Bubble Bath Books, not Coffee House Existentialism Books. Or Steamy Sexbite Books. Seriously, Once Upon A Winter’s Heart is EXACTLY what we love to read.
Sissy: Well said, Bubby. It just delighted me. I really can’t think of a better word than delighted. Imagine me swing dancing with my imaginary partner around the living room with a big smile on my face. Of course there were bumps in the plot line to make it interesting, like Anne, Emma’s sister. Anne is a pretentious snob, albeit beautiful, with a stick up her … nose. She has a terminal case of “the grass is greener on the other side” and she doesn’t appreciate the wonderful things that are right in front of her nose. Also Emma’s mother made me crazy! She reminds me of my Aunt Matilda (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent) with her agenda that she can’t see past, even though she is hurting those she’s supposed to love.
Bubby: I lied when I stated above that there was nothing bad to say about the story. I do have one criticism. There was this tension-filled issue between Emma’s parents that just suddenly went away without much explanation. I would have liked to know a little more about what happened there. But it’s a little tiny criticism. Maybe Melody Carlson felt that fleshing out that side plot would have taken away from the main story. Anyway, I’m over it now. I love the concept that romance blooms when it’s made a priority. I know so many couples who don’t go on dates and don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day and anniversaries because they are secure in their relationship and don’t want to buy into the whole “romantic mythology”. For me, it matters. I don’t need a big production of dozens of roses and a lavish dinner to know that my husband loves me. But when he brings home flowers just because or when we go out to dinner just the two of us and hold hands across the table? That makes me happy and all gooey and melty inside. Even after all these years.
Sissy: The relationship between Nona and Poppi was a great example and represented not just good fortune but years of good practice. And that is the truth about relationships. Every worthwhile one has to be worked at. Bubby and I have proved that with our relationship. It wasn’t too many years ago that Bubby wanted to kill me because of my great and exorbitant talents and I wanted to maim her because of her unfathomable beauty. But look at us now! Things that matter to us, we make work.
Bubby: That’s not exactly how I remember things, dear one, but we all know your memory is going fast! It’s true, though. Love takes effort. It took no effort, however to love Once Upon A Winter’s Heart. 4.75 blissfully floaty lovey-dovey bubbles.
Sissy: Wow, over the top much? 4.75 for me too.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.