One Christmas in Winter is the debut novella from author Bell Renshaw. If it is any indication of what her work will be like, I know I will LOVE it all! #Iwanttoreadallthebooks Today I have the privilege of sharing my thoughts on the story plus a Christmas interview with Bell!
Reba Farwell is finally getting a chance to live out her dreams. Sent to Winter, Montana to direct filming for a crucial, on-location shoot, she knows the next two weeks will make or break her career. And she could definitely use a break. As if that isn’t enough, she’s got a secret that none of her crew knows. All she’s asking for is two weeks of small town, Christmas beauty and a little bit of on-camera sizzle.
Five years ago, Hoyt Bradley’s heart and future shattered in one fell swoop that landed him back in Winter. Thankfully, making lemonade—or his father’s famous lemon meringue pie— out of lemons is what he does best. Running Bentley’s Diner has filled the gaps left in the wake of his heartbreak, even if it hasn’t healed him completely. Not wanting to relive memories of his rocky start in the film industry, Hoyt does his best to steer clear of the dreaded film crew, but Winter has a way of bringing people together.
After one fateful delivery and a score of icy bad luck, Reba finds herself in a bind and at the mercy of what Winter can offer. Will she pull the film together in time to salvage her name as a director? Or will the sparks flying off-camera create more of a distraction than she knows how to handle?
Come visit Winter, Montana in this Christmas Novella where the Christmas lights are always on and the snow falls most frequently when loved ones share a kiss.
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One Christmas in Winter is the perfect little Christmas story, full of small-town charm, Christmassy things like fuzzy sweaters, fun things like sledding, and a sweet romance. Saying this story is just like a Hallmark movie is very accurate and a high compliment— specifically, a Hallmark movie I hope it becomes one day because it has a fresh and realistic slant some of that network’s productions lack. With equal parts humor and romantic depth, it explores family relationships and a feeling of belonging most keen this time of year, whether it be belonging on a career path or a homey place with the people you love.
More little things I loved about this story:
- fictitious setting of Winter, Montana as a vivid and idyllic backdrop
- the “Christmas movie” production! Dear Hallmark, this would be perfect to turn into a movie because IT WOULD BE LOW BUDGET! JUST FILM YOUR OWN CREW!
- secondary characters I LOVED! Troy, Beau, Ansley, Mama Bradley, Mariah, Lloyd, etc!
- to be a novella, it was a fully developed and complex story
- Beau’s coffee shop. I want to visit.
- the fill-in takeout delivery guy 😉
- the NEXT novella (12/2018) hinted at near the end!
Thank you to the author for the review copy. This is my honest review.
Do you have any Christmas traditions?
One that I absolutely love is doing some Christmas baking with my family. I love giving gifts and sometimes a plate of sweets is the best (most tasty) gift for friends and neighbors.
Hot coffee, cocoa, or hot tea? With or without Christmas cookies?
I would have to say tea or coffee (I’ve been loving the Celestial Seasonings Christmas teas recently!) and definitely WITH Christmas cookies 😉
Favorite Christmas song?
I like a lot of Christmas songs so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. But one of my top favorites is Come Thou Long Expected Jesus!
Tell us about the story setting of Winter, Montana.
It’s actually really neat because Winter is based (very loosely) on the town I grew up in. It’s embellished, of course, but it’s got a few things that my home town does. I think it’s one of my favorite parts of this book (aside from the romance of course) because of the people. They really are what make up the town. You’ll be seeing more of Timon, Fred, the ladies at the hospital, and especially more of Beau and Ansley in book 2, and I can’t wait to showcase even more parts of Winter as well.
What was most challenging about writing this story?
Movie production! I did some research and really wanted to get the feeling of what it would be like to shoot a movie in a small town, but that’s not easy to do. I follow Candace Cameron Bure on Instagram and watching some of her stories actually helped me write some of the scenes!
Which character was your favorite to write?
Mariah! I love Reba and Hoyt and they were so fun to write, but Mariah has a mind of her own and I so enjoyed writing her character. She’s got spunk and says it like it is. I think she’s a mix of a few friends of mine and the kind of friend Reba really needs in her life.
What are you currently reading?
I’m in the Christmas spirit so I’m reading Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck! I just love her writing.
Thank you, Bell, for sharing a little behind-the-scenes and your Christmas favorites! Readers, you can learn more about Bell and how to connect with her via her website and other links below.
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YOUR TURN! What are some of your Christmas traditions or seasonal favorites? Do you enjoy Christmas novellas this time of year?