Winter's Fairytale (by Maxine Morrey)

I hadn’t heard of Maxine Morrey, but this book was available recently as a free download for my Kindle. Reviews were mostly positive, and it sounded like a pleasant, light and heart-warming read in the busy period before Christmas. I started reading ‘Winter’s Fairytale’ on a flight and finished it a week later, reading mostly at bedtime.

The main character is Izzy, who is a talented wedding dress designer and creator. We meet her in a dramatic opening chapter when she is jilted at the altar, and then punches Rob, the best man in the nose. Romantic fiction novels traditionally introduce the reader to the hero and heroine in a conflict situation, and that certainly happens in this book!

The main part of the book begins some months later. Izzy has picked up her life again, and while still hurt and angry, feels that perhaps it was for the best. Rob has been trying to contact her to find out how she is, and she avoids him until she bumps into him on a snowy evening…

Rob is a likeable hero, if at times almost too good to be true. His flat is spotless, he is a good cook, he is extremely generous, always chivalrous, and cares deeply for his family. He’s evidently quite keen on Izzy, but lets her know that he only wants friendship, at least for a while. The writing is clever enough that I could see this coming early on, despite Izzy being apparently unaware of Rob’s feelings for her; however, when this continues for several chapters, I began to feel that she was annoyingly obtuse.

The main plot involves their eventual getting together which was predictable from the start, and - in classic romance style - their journey is full of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and - when they’re almost getting close - interruptions from friends and family. There’s a nice sideline story involving Rob’s sister and her fiancĂ©. Most of the book takes place during a snowy December, culminating in a New Year party.

My main gripe with the book is that much of the dialogue is long-winded, full of greetings and irrelevancies, and repetition of things the reader already knows. It’s the kind of conversation that could actually have happened, but in fiction that doesn’t work: I found myself skimming several times as people asked each other how they were, and then told each other things which had already been described. There’s rather too much heart-searching, too, with internal monologues which, again, add nothing to the plot, or to Izzy’s character, other than making her seem less intelligent. Her insistence on wearing five-inch heels in snow only adds to this impression...

I also felt that there were rather too many thoroughly nice characters. I would love to know Rob’s family in real life; in fiction, they feel a bit one-sided. There are two unpleasant people - three, if we count Izzy’s ex-fiancĂ©, but then we don’t ever meet him. However they don’t appear to have any redeeming features at all. Perhaps that was intended, though; the novel calls itself a fairytale, and those tend to be full of nice people with a few thorough-going ‘baddies’.

Overall, this book made a pleasant interlude in a busy period. I didn’t at all mind the long-expected ending, and some of the scenes were quite heart-warming. If you like light ‘chick-lit’, and don’t object to bad language (there’s rather more than I’m comfortable with) and a predictable storyline with somewhat one-sided people, then this would make an ideal book to pick up in odd moments during the Christmas period.

No longer available free, but inexpensive on the Kindle. Not, as far as I can tell, published in any other form.

Review copyright 2017 Sue's Book Reviews

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