#Review: Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar @KileyDunbar @HeraBooks @rararesources #blogtour #newrelease #romcom

By | September 6, 2019

A real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour and sharing my review of Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar, published as an e-book by Hera Books on 4th September and now available for kindle via Amazon, and also via Apple and Kobo. Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for providing my reading copy via netgalley.

As chance would have it, I’d already heard nothing but good things about Kiley Dunbar’s writing – I’d already added her first book, One Summer’s Night, to my reading list for this month because others had told me how much I’d love it. But when I saw she had a new book, I changed my plans – and I’m delighted to report that everyone who told me I’d enjoy her writing was absolutely right…

Christmas magic can thaw the coldest of hearts…

Sylvie Magnusson is going to be lonely this Christmas. Instead of jetting off for her
 sunshine honeymoon, she’s freezing at home in Cheshire. Guess that’s what happens when your fiancé dumps you a week before your wedding…

Sylvie’s best friend, Nari, plans a trip to see the Northern Lights and get Sylvie’s mojo back. But as their Lapland getaway approaches, Sylvie realises that Frozen Falls is the hometown of Stellan Virtanen, her dreamy Finnish ex-boyfriend, the one that got away. Even though he actually ran away, and Sylvie never understood why…

Luckily, when they meet, Stellan’s still gorgeous – and her heart is warmed when he shows her the romantic delights of Lapland (as well as some seriously adorable Husky puppies). But when she returns to England can she really leave Stellan behind? Or will she find that her heart belongs in the frozen North?

Curl up with the perfect cosy Christmas read this winter. Fans of Sarah Morgan and
 Carole Matthews will adore this feel good, heart-warming romcom.

I’m always a bit of a pushover for a Christmas read – but I think this might just be the first time I’ve found myself reading one in August. And it wasn’t just “a little bit Christmas” – this was a full-on Christmas experience, set (mostly) in Lapland, complete with decorations, roaring fires, reindeer and huskies, snow and ice and a rather delicious man in a Santa suit. But whoever it was that decided to publish this book so very early, I forgive you completely – this book was just sheer gorgeousness from the first page to the last, and I loved every moment.

I was in Sylvie’s corner from the moment I met her – and given that Cole treated her so atrociously (and he hasn’t finished yet!), and that all she had to look forward to over the holidays was the Christmas Strictly special, who could blame her for having her arm twisted by friend Nari to try a break in Lapland instead of the cancelled honeymoon in Mauritius? And why not Saariselkä – maybe she can find out what happened to Stellan, her first love, who walked away and broke her heart?

I particularly loved her because of her really distinctive voice, consistent throughout – she has the most wonderful self-deprecating sense of humour and, despite our age difference, she was so very easy to identify with as she shared her every inner thought. Throughout the book, I laughed and smiled with her, felt her uncertainty and her pain, and really desperately wanted her to find her happy ending. But heavens, that family she’d tied herself up with – Cole’s mother is quite horrendous, those barbed comments that no-one else noticed, the way she favoured her son over his sister… brilliant observation, and such excellent writing!

But then we’re off to Lapland, and it’s a wonderful adventure – the whole setting is perfectly drawn, with all those magical Christmassy details, and the possibility of rekindling a rather special relationship. There are some of the most perfect touches – everyone will love the huskies, but there are some other lovely touches around the resort too, like the glass walls of the bedroom, the bare tree awaiting its decorations, the makings of an open fire. And then there’s that simply perfect Finnish carol service they stumble across. And the ice bar in the forest clearing. And might they get to see the Northern Lights? Oh, of course they will… along with finding out a great deal more about the benefits of a Finnish sauna.

I haven’t mentioned Nari much yet, but I did really like the fact that this was her story too. Her travel blog gives the story a nice contemporary edge – and despite her initial flightiness, she turned out to have unexpected depths, and I really enjoyed the way her character developed. Her friendship with Sylvie had a real warmth about it, and her developing relationship with Niilo was incredibly touching.

I’m aware I might just be making the whole book seem warm and rather fluffy, but I was also really impressed by the obvious research that must have gone into it – Finland is unfamiliar territory for me, and I learned a lot about the lifestyle and particularly about the lives and beliefs of the Sámi people. And although the story’s edges are mostly soft, there’s a particularly realistic depiction of heartbreak and loneliness – and the second chance romances with all their uncertainties are so very heartwarming and just perfectly handled. And as for the writing itself – it has a tremendous confidence about it, and the author has a perfect emotional touch.

That comparison with Carole Matthews? I thought it was absolutely spot on. A really special book, and an author to watch for the future… when you’re ready for a Christmas read, I’d highly recommend getting your hands on this one. As for me, I’m still wondering if I’d actually prefer a Christmas Lapland break or just the husky puppy…

About the author

 

Kiley Dunbar is the author of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

 A contender for the Joan Hessayon award for debut novelists this year, 

Kiley is Scottish and lives in England with her husband, two kids and Amos the Bedlington Terrier. She writes around her work at a University in the North of England where she lectures in English Literature and creative writing. She is proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a graduate of their New Writers’ Scheme. 



You can find Kiley on Twitter and Facebook.

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