Review: Walking in A Winter Wonderland by Claire Castle

Colton Dawson is miserable this holiday season. Those he’d loved the most are no longer in his life. With one disappointment after another, how can he possibly get into the Christmas spirit? Maybe a change of scenery—a new place to put down roots—is just what he needs for a second chance to find some happiness.

Winterbourne Vale is only too happy to help his much-loved aunt and uncle run their café in Canada while on his short December break—even if it means leaving his home in the United Kingdom. After a defeated-looking Colton walks into the café, Winter is determined to lift his spirits.

Can Colton and Winter’s Christmas happiness continue long after the gifts are unwrapped and the decorations are stowed away? 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is holiday treat filled with special ornaments and glistening snow, hot tea and cold-weather kisses, along with some sexy shenanigans and plenty of holiday cheer.

The premise to this story was fodder for a deliciously adorable holiday tale. All the ingredients were there; a heartbreaking coming home story, a lumberjack looking MC with an ACCENT, small town quaintness and peppermint bark. Why 2 hearts then? The execution of all those elements just didn’t come together for me.

The MC’s were pretty flat overall, some depth to them would have gone a long way. Telling me they have this amazing connection doesn’t make me believe it’s an actual thing. Colton starts out very broken for a myriad of reasons. He’s inherited his Grandma’s house and is devastated by her death, he’s coming off a bad breakup and figures moving to the small town where his Grandma lived will be a good fresh start. He has a meet cute with Winter who works at the cafe in town to help out his aunt and uncle while he’s visiting from across the pond. Sounds great huh?

Frankly, I didn’t care for Colton. He was incredibly dramatic and rude when he was “broken” and then when he and Winter started flirting his personality changed completely and I was expected to chalk it up to the aforementioned connection they shared. Since I had a hard time with the connection, I had a hard time with the personality shift.

The conversations weren’t fluid they just sounded awkwardly stilted and many times made no sense and were hard to follow. When Winter gets up the nerve to ask Colton to the Christmas Fair, it goes like this (words in parentheses are my inner dialog): 

 “So, I was going to ask you.” He swirled the ice in his drink. “Do you want to come to the Christmas Fair at the weekend with me?” 
(Nice and sweet, first date stuff. Sounds adorable. Note the “with me” at the end there, that’s going to matter.) 

 “I’m already going.” 
(Wow. Rude.) 

Frowning, he looked over and pulled his hand away. “Ah . . . . oh, okay . . . . sure. Whatever,” he mumbled. 
(Poor dude, shot his shot and then got shot down.) 

“No! No, I just meant Carol at the store said I should go. I would love to go with you though. That’s a much better proposition.” I bit my lip and smiled. 
(What the actual fuck? Is that flirting? If it is, please stop.) 

So that may seem like a nit picky example, but that’s how so much of the dialog was. Weird roller coasters of conversation with no direction are just frustrating and took me out of the story after a very short while.

For instance, Colton started to tell Winter about his last conversation with his Grandma, but broke down without finishing and then claims he poured his heart out to Winter, even though he left out the most important part of what happened. At one point they are kissing and rubbing junk and in the next breath they are talking about snowglobes with no segway from boners to Christmas, I need a segway. Winter’s aunt says to Colton, “You are feeling now, though. When I first saw your sad eyes, there was no emotion.” What? Last I heard, sadness was still an emotion.

Basically, what my rant is getting at, is that the words lost their meaning because they didn’t seem to have much motivation to them. So many of them were just “there”.

The basic bones of Christmas gold were in the story. The author’s premise had a lot of potential. The setting was ideal for a love story between two men with Colton’s and Winter’s backgrounds. Unfortunately the tale lost its way in amongst the unfocused dialog and overly dramatic/unwarranted reactions. Which was really too bad because I wanted to like this story so much.

The issues are all mine though, and if you read this review and think, “Damn, Peach, chill.” then definitely download the sample and check it out yourself, hopefully you’ll have a better connection than I did.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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