Book Review: Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland by Heidi Swain

Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland by Heidi Swain

Title:Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland
Author: Heidi Swain
Publication Date: 1 November 2018
Twitter: @Heidi_Swain
After calling off her engagement, Hayley, the Wynthorpe Hall housekeeper, wants nothing more than to return to her no-strings fun-loving self, avoiding any chance of future heartbreak. Little does she know, Wynbridge’s latest arrival is about to throw her plan entirely off course…
Moving to Wynthorpe Hall to escape the town’s gossip, Hayley finds herself immersed in the eccentric Connelly family’s festive activities as they plan to host their first ever Winter Wonderland. But Hayley isn’t the only new resident at the hall. Gabe, a friend of the Connelly’s son Jamie, has also taken up residence, moving into Gatekeeper’s Cottage, and he quickly makes an impression on Wynbridge’s reformed good-girl.
As preparations commence for the biggest event of the season, the pair find themselves drawn ever closer to one another, but unbeknownst to Hayley, Gabe, too, has a reason for turning his back on love, one that seems intent on keeping them apart.
Under the starry winter skies, will Gabe convince Hayley to open her heart again once more? And in doing so, will he convince himself?
It’s a bit early in the year for a Christmas review, you might think… Well I disagree!  With the current snowy weather and Christmas memories slowly fading, it seems the perfect time to reignite some of that festive feeling and Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland will certainly do that!
In this book, we return to Wynthorpe Hall and revisit some of the lovely characters that have appeared in the author’s past books, including Jemma and Lizzie from The Cherry Tree Café and Anna and Jamie from Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair (although I should point out that this book can easily be read as a standalone novel).  This time, the focus is on Hayley. Having called time on her relationship with the disloyal Gavin, she has moved back into Wynthorpe Hall to get away from the gossip, lick her wounds and get back on her feet. Having sworn off men, the arrival of hunky new resident Gabe makes it hard for Hayley to stick to her plan. Can she bring herself to open her heart again…?  Helping to take Hayley’s mind off her romantic dramas is Angus’ ambitious plan for creating a Winter Wonderland at Wynthorpe Hall.  As all the staff get creative, Hayley finds her hidden artistic skills are about to be showcased to the public!
Hayley is an interesting character. I get the feeling she has had to grow up a bit too early in her life and still does not really have a true understanding of herself. I did find her to be quite juvenile at times, particularly her obsession with being “the old Hayley”. People’s characters develop as a result of their past experiences and will continue to do so throughout their lives. It is an odd thought that one can simply pick a past version of themselves and return to it – almost like picking a past save point on a video game! As the saying goes, “forwards ever, backwards never”.
The romance within the story is somewhat predictable, but there was certainly enough to-ing and fro-ing between Hayley and Gabe to keep that element of the tale interesting.
One of my favourite things about the book is the setting. Wynthorpe Hall sounds like a magical place, full of warmth, love and friendship – the kind of place where, if you lived there, you couldn’t bring yourself to leave it. The Hall has such personality that it almost feels like a character within the story.
As with all of the author’s previous works, Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland is a wonderfully upbeat and heart-warming tale, full to the brim of warmth and enthusiasm. A great feel-good festive read.
About the Author
Heidi Swain

Heidi Swain is the Sunday Times Top Ten best-selling author of SLEIGH RIDES AND SILVER BELLS AT THE CHRISTMAS FAIR. Her other titles include The Cherry Tree Café, Summer at Skylark Farm, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage and Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland. 

Heidi lives in beautiful south Norfolk with her family and a mischievous cat called Storm. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her tbr pile is always out of control!


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