It’s forever the bane of my reading life to never read seasonal books during the season they use as filler. When Once Upon a Winter’s Heart came around, I figured it was high time I snagged a copy and actually read it. So that’s what I did. Set during the Valentine Day period, it tells the story of the jaded Emma whose trust in love is nothing if not fragile. Her grandparents were the prime example of what it means to be in a marriage with God at the center but then there are her parents. And her sister. With her grandfather’s recent death, Emma leaves behind her life in Seattle to help her grandmother around the house and slowly begins to open her heart to Lane Forrester. But things get complicated when she learns her sister has a claim on Lane.

‘ONCE UPON A WINTER’S HEART,’ BY MELODY CARLSON. Review of the 2014 romance novella. All text © Rissi JC

Reading this novel (which is very short on average though probably longer than a novella), makes its reader feel nostalgic. It makes me think of folding colorful cardstock and cutting out hearts  or writing out Disney Valentine’s. This is the kind of vibe its cover illustration (and it’s gorgeous!) has, and I suspect, exactly what Melody wants the book to feel like. Those of us who prefer more time for characters to grow – both as individuals and as a couple if that’s the path of the story, will be disappointed as there is very little depth of characters. The story takes a more lighthearted, easy approach to its subjects which is nice.

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I don’t respect some of the choices in the book though that falls into being a question of personal preference. There are cute classic book references and a scene that debates The Phantom of the Opera then there is the banter between Emma and her family which is cute – especially the scenes with her dad and I giggled over Emma adjusting to her mother rooming with her (note the scene of Emma taking her bubble bath), and in fact could even relate to Emma with certain of her personality quirks. Anyone looking for a cozy read will probably enjoy Once Upon a Winter’s Heart. For a holiday read, there’s plenty of hearts, sappy moments of nostalgia, and of course a sweet romance albeit one that does end with ambiguity though, any well-read inspirational romance reader knows… the implication speaks volumes. *wink*   

About the Book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Center Street
Publication Date: 2014
Source: Purchase
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon | Goodreads | Novel Crossing | WordPress
Shop the Book: Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Romance, Christian
Rating: 4 out of 5

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


    1. I saw you'd read this one (maybe on Twitter…?), Juju and was curious what you thought. I agree. It needed more length to be a better character driven story. For a sweet, quick, holiday read I liked it fine. :)

      That retro cover IS awesome. Love it. :)

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