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on 29 October 2012
I love Milly Johnson's books and have them all. I even pre-order them. This book is her best to date. I could picture the characters and the whole theme of the book. I really liked the main characters Eve who was mourning the lose of her partner Johnathan and hating Christmas. I also liked the fact the Eve at times thought her Aunt had lost the plot by leaving her half a 'Winterworld' theme park in her will. A couple of times I had tears rolling down my face as I was laughing so much!
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Eve hates Christmas. As a child she spent her Christmas wondering if there would be any food in the house, would she get a present, and which of her Mother's boyfriends would be on the scene. If it wasn't for her Aunt Susan and cousin Violet, Eve would probably never have received anything. Christmas did not get any better as an adult, five years ago Eve's fiance was killed in action in Afghanistan on Christmas Day. Is there any wonder that she would like nothing to do with December at all?
When Eve inherits a Christmas-themed amusement park from her elderly Aunt, she is amazed, she had no idea that Aunt Evelyn had any interests other than Mr Kipling cakes, her two cats and her growing collection of strange Christmas decorations. She is even more shocked and amazed when she learns that Aunt Evelyn has left half of the park to a mysterious stranger - just who is Jacques Glace and where did he come from?

Milly Johnson has that amazing gift of writing stories that can make you smile through your tears. She has created an extraordinary world on the outskirts of Barnsley that is full of magic, yet still has her down-to-earth stamp on it. I sighed as Eve tried her best to ignore the wonderful Jacques, I wanted to grab her and shake her and make her see what was under her nose. I chuckled as I read about the park's transformation into a winter wonderland - overseen by the wonderful character that is Effin - assisted by his crew of Welsh and Polish workers. I wanted to boo and hiss when introduced to Eve and Violet's Grandmother - possibly the nastiest piece of work since Snow White's step-mother.
I love the good old Northern humour, the reality alongside the magic and the little snippets from The Daily Trumpet are wonderful.
A Winter Flame made me smile again, it's like a big huge cuddle in a book, that wrapped me up and sent me on my way feeling as though I'd made some new friends.
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Eve hates Christmas, and does her best to ignore the whole thing, preferring to spend the day itself at home on her own, pretending it isn't Christmas. Eve hates it so much because her fiancé Jonathan, a soldier at war in Afghanistan, was killed in action on Christmas Day, and now she can't bear to be happy. When a winter-themed fun park is left to her in her aunt's will, Eve thinks her worst nighmare has come true... especially when she finds out that half of the park has been left to a complete stranger, Jacques Glace. Can Eve make Winterworld a success for the sake of her Aunt, and will Jacques be able to help Eve mend her heart once and for all?

As well as being a festive themed book, Milly did something I really love when writing this book... bringing back characters from past books and updating us on them. An important character in this book is Violet and her boyfriend Pav, who you will remember originally meeting in her last book, White Wedding. It turns out she is related to Eve, and is a big part of the story, and I really enjoyed a familiar face in this book, and it was nice to read about the next stage of their story .We also find a mention of the other characters, Bel and Max too. Eve and Jacques are perfectly crafted characters for this book, and aptly named for the theme of the book too I must say! Eve is a very damaged character, haunted by the loss of her beloved fiancé and so shuts herself off emotionally from everything as a result. We can all see why she's damaged but at the same time, I wanted her to break out from that and show us a happier side once in a while!

The idea of WinterPark was fantastic, and Milly must have had such fun writing about it, and really getting creative with lots of winter and Christmas themed ideas! I wish there was such a place for us to really visit, because it certainly came fully to life in my head as I was reading, and sounded like the perfect place to go in this cold weather we're experiencing at theh moment! Even the smaller minor characters involved at the park, from Effin the foreman to Holly the reindeer, are all vitally important and put a smile on your face. It's actually the quieter more emotional scenes which really tug at your heart strings... one with Eve and Holly in particular is very touching, and reveals a lot more about Eve's character and her past with Jonathan. The relationship between her and Jacques was very readable too, and I enjoyed reading about the pair of them, especially Jacques who it seemed had more to him that meets the eye.

Johnson has created a book that will warm your heart on cold autumn and winter evenings, and is a complete joy from start to finish. With a cast of characters that you will really care about, and more importantly want to read about, A Winter Flame is an utterly charming book that you won't want to put down. Everything about it is wonderful, with WinterPark being the highlight of the whole thing, and the festive spirit shines through every single page. The military theme running through too is very current and relevant, and makes you realise how hard it is on those left behind when these brave soldiers go to war, especially when they sadly don't return. It's an emotional but thoroughly enjoyable novel that will leave a smile on your face, and with a warm, cosy feeling side. Milly Johnson at her best, an excellent read!
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on 4 November 2012
Another brilliant book by that incredible author Milly Johnson. Her books just grip you and pull you in from the word go. I have read every single one of her books, in fact I don't read the book description any more I just order the book. I have never been disappointed. Roll on the next book!!
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on 10 December 2012
Original Review on my Blog [...]

Tis the season to be Jolly... but can Eve find happiness through the frost...? Eve has never liked Christmas, not since her beloved fiance was killed in action in Afghanistan on Christmas Day. So when her adored elderly aunt dies, the last thing she is expecting is to be left a theme park in her will. A theme park with a Christmas theme...

And that's not the only catch. Her aunt's will stipulates that Eve must run the park with a mysterious partner, the exotically named Jacques Glace. Who is this Jacques, and why did Aunt Evelyn name him in her will?

But Eve isn't going to back down from a challenge. She's determined to make a success of Winterworld, no matter what. Can she overcome her dislike of Christmas, and can Jacques melt her frozen heart at last?

This was such a fabulous Christmas read, I was giggling at some of the best parts of the book! I am a big fan of Milly Johnson's books, I adored reading White Wedding and I was glad to find out that Violet was appearing again in this new book yay!! So we start with Meeting the Lovely Eve who is awaiting at the solicitors to hear about Aunt Evelyn's will, when Eve finds out her aunt left her a theme park and also some money, but one have a handsome business partner too Jacques Glace, I just loved the chemistry between Jacques and Eve, I loved the way she misjudges him all the way hehe, You will understand when you read it hehe!

It was great to hear more about Violet who is Eve's cousin and Pav, it was cute to see their relationship develop more and more although I felt like i had bit all of my nails at one point in the book but then was so happpy :)
I also noticed Max and Bella from Milly's last book White Wedding also reappeared which was just fab!

My favourite character in this book would have to be Eve, she was just so brave but also had a frozen heart and hates Christmas because she lost the love of her life Johnathon on Christmas day and Her Fiance's family can't stand her and wouldn't even tell her where he was buried. So she was alone until she received the theme park.
I really did love this book and It was such a great Christmassy feel, I couldn't wait to snuggle up reading this, It was great with plenty of humour but also pulled at my heart strings a couple of times. I want everyone to grab a copy because you will not be disappointed hehe!
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on 21 December 2012
If you're looking for something to get you in the mood for Christmas, then this is the read for you. And what better for a festive-themed book than a festive theme park! Johnson hooks you into the story almost immediately with Eve's enthusiasm to get the park up and running, and by creating an air of mystery around Jacques Glace - who is he and what exactly was his relationship with Aunt Evelyn??

The writing style is confident, precise and hits you straight in the heart with the book's few emotional scenes and overall warmth. The characters are likeable and well rounded; Eve is a worthy leading lady and many readers will relate to her, which only serves to heighten the reading enjoyment. This really is the perfect book to read in your PJs, next to the Christmas tree while sipping a glass of wine (or two).

Reviewed by Charlotte Foreman on behalf of
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I absolutely love books with a Christmas theme, not only does it help get you in the mood for Christmas that extra bit early, but it adds a bit more magic and sparkle in a person's life, which is much needed during the cold, wet and windy months of October and November.

To say Eve does not like Christmas is an understatement. After a string of bad Christmases and a particularly heartbreaking one where her fiancé Jonathan was killed in Afghanistan on Christmas Day, Eve has no positive feelings towards the holiday and would rather spend the day alone, hiding away and pretending it does not exist. Eve's Aunt Evelyn sadly passes away, and Eve learns that she has been left something in the will.

Eve attends the solicitors, expecting to be left Aunt Evelyn's locket that she always wore. However, Eve is in for a shock - She has been left a theme park in her Aunt's will. And not just any theme park, but Winterworld - A theme park dedicated entirely to Christmas, the one time of year Eve can't bear. But more interestingly, Aunt Evelyn has stated that she must run the park with her new business partner, a man named Jacques Glace. Having never heard of this man, and with her dislike for the holiday season, this is going to be a big challenge for Eve.

I truly enjoyed this book. From the first chapter I was glued to the pages and I could not put it down! The part that really had me hooked was the mystery of Jacques Glace - From the beginning I was desperate to know the answers that were buzzing in my mind. Who is he? How is he related to Aunt Evelyn and where does he fit in to the puzzle? Why is he being so secretive? What significance did he have in Evelyn's life to be left half of a business in the will? Why did she never mention him? How much involvement did he have in Evelyn's life, and how much does he perhaps know about the theme park? My mind was working over time with this one, I was so so intrigued by him that I had to know everything I could about him, and Milly Johnson has done a great job with the opening few chapters because I was gripped!

The characters in the story were brilliant. Eve was a wonderfully written as a character who you could really get behind and support, and someone you really wanted to cheer on so that she would achieve her goals. I became very emotionally involved with Eve, my heart reached out to her, I warmed to her instantly and she felt very lifelike to me. Phoebe May Tinker deserves an honourable mention. In fact, she deserves her own book - she is brilliant! I also very much enjoyed the appearance of Eve's cousin Violet and Violet's boyfriend Pav, they were wonderful additions and really brought extra sparkle and life to the pages!

The writing was excellent.The plot line was delightful, with the idea of a sweet elderly lady having dreams of a fun, magical place and leaving behind such detailed plans of a Christmassy winter theme park. It was so refreshing, and it was exciting at the same time. After reading this book I'm very keen to visit a winter theme park! The story flowed beautifully and the reader can go with it at any pace they wish, this can be devoured in one sitting, or it can be savoured and enjoyed over a few days - each option leaving the reader with a warm, joyous feeling.

Although there is a lot of humour and happiness throughout the story, there are a few emotional scenes included, but don't let that put you off. Milly Johnson has delicately addressed issues in the book such as the loss of a relative from war, and her writing style touches your heart.

Overall this is warm, Christmassy, comforting story about taking a risk, and allowing your heart to be opened to possibilities. Milly Johnson has again written an exceptional story, one which I'm sure will be a big hit not only with loyal fans, but with new readers too!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 December 2012
I have read a few of Milly's books now and can honestly say I haven't felt disappointed with any of them in any way. My favourite to date has been `Here Come The Girls' but I've yet to read her earlier stuff. With the release of A Winter Flame I was actually pretty excited. Although I may favour one book over another all of her books have that wonderful feel good vibe about them.

A Winter Flame took me less than two chapters to get into and it becomes very apparent that Eve Beresford the main character is stuck in a rut. After losing her soldier fiancé on Christmas Day, she now avoids Christmas at all costs. She has managed to become successful with her events company and has a great career, but with nobody to share it with, and her inability to let go it seems she will never move on and be happy. When she is left a plot of land by her aunt, she fears that her aunt may have lost her marbles. There are plans in place for Eve to jointly run and own a Christmas theme park. It seems that her aunt has left the remaining half to a complete stranger, a man named Jacques Glace.

Never fear, the above paragraph will not ruin the story as this is all in the synopsis! I immediately loved Jacques and though he was a big bundle of joy. Eve however took me longer to warm to. With her mind being so suspicious and her issues surrounding trust, I felt like I had to work at getting to like her. However, as her aunts madcap scheme seems to start working I began to understand a little of why Eve was so shut off from everybody. The story gets right into the thick of Eve and Jacques as they try to construct the park as Eve's aunt would have wanted. But between the stress of pulling it off, and Eve's suspicions the plan is far from smooth.

The story was a little predictable, (although Milly Johnson had me going towards the end) but was exactly what I would have wanted anyway. One of the things I loved about this book is that we see the re-appearance of the characters that appeared in her last book White Wedding. Violet is the main character that we see, and Mac and Bel only briefly, but it was nice to get reacquainted. This book has come at the perfect time in the run up to Christmas and brings back a little of the Christmas magic. It still doesn't top Here Comes The Girls for me, but was, as ever, a brilliant read for me. This was one that I could curl up and get lost in and truly enjoy. Can't wait to read her others now.
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on 9 November 2012
Eve doesn't like Christmas. On top of a childhood full of disappointments, her boyfriend was killed in Afghanistan 5 years earlier on Christmas day. Unable to move on, she keeps a candle burning for him; as long as it's alight he's there with her in spirit. But when her great aunt dies, she leaves Eve something strange in her will: the plans to a winter theme park and the money to make it happen. There's one catch. She must work together with a mysterious stranger and she can't help but be suspicious.

The winter theme park is a wonderfully silly idea for a festive novel and you'll be pleased to know it's better than the one that kept appearing on Watchdog last year! Whilst it does have its serious side, the best parts are the fun ones. There's a host of wonderful bit-part characters, an amazing sounding ice-cream parlour, adorable reindeer and Santas. I wish that her niece had a bigger part as she is one of those children that comes out with very adult things. Not forgetting the error ridden local newspaper that has a lot to answer for!

At one point I decided I didn't want Eve to get a happy ever after. Her bitterness, lack of trust and all-round anti-Christmasness goes just a bit too far. Yes, she has her reasons but her grief seems out of proportion. I mean she barely knew Jonathan before he was killed and he had left his previous long-term girlfriend after knowing Eve for one night! He doesn't sound like the kind of man that would have stuck around for ever. I think it would work better if you feel a bit more compassion towards her. Though I suppose that's the point of Christmas miracle stories... Miserable-person-discovers-joy-of-Christmas.

Milly's books are fun and easy reads but there's something about her writing style which prevents me from connecting with the characters. There were a few moments that succeeded, especially Eve's interactions with the reindeer. I probably enjoyed An Autumn Crush more but this has at least started to get me in the festive mood.

Review copy provided by the publisher.
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on 10 January 2013
I have read all of her books and some of the characters from a previous book are in this. I like this and she has done it with other books. I really laughed at the news paper apologies which appear in the book. There is a local newspaper which regularly makes often very embaressing printing mistakes. It will then show an apology with the correct story. Some are very funny. I personally like humour in a book I often laugh out loud to some. I did find it emotional in some bits. I found the story line unusual and would thoroughly recommend the book and any others by her.
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