Once Upon a Winter's Heart   -     By: Melody Carlson
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Once Upon a Winter's Heart

Center Street / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

After a decade of dating disasters and her parents' divorce, Emma Burcelli has given up on romance---until she meets Lane Forester. Just as her heart begins to soften, she learns that her sister is vying for Lane's affections! Emma's mother and sister insist Lane sees her only as a future sister-in-law---but could they be wrong?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160
Vendor: Center Street
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8 X 5.14 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9781455528110
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Emma Burcelli has suffered over a decade of dating disasters. But she concludes that love is officially dead when her grandfather Poppi suddenly passes, leaving her grandmother Nona devastated. To help out, Emma works in the family bookstore, which Nona insists must be decked out in sweetheart décor as Poppi would have done for Valentine's Day. Although she feels like a V-Day Scrooge, Emma quickly learns to enjoy the task with the help of a handsome family friend, Lane Forester, who shows her that hanging hearts is much more fun when done to the tune of Dean Martin. As Emma and Lane share time and memories of Poppi, she reconsiders the notion that romance is alive.

Just as Emma's heart begins to lift, however, she learns her sister has already staked a claim on Lane. Emma's mother and sister insist Lane only sees her as a future sister-in-law, but she can't help wondering if it could be something more.

Author Bio

Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she is a writer who loves to write! She is a bestselling and award-winning author of more than 200 books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than six million. Carlson's passion for 'true to life' fiction has had great success for both the young adult and women's markets. Informed and aware of the challenges and struggles facing teens today, she writes young adult novels that she hopes will change lives and women's fiction to which women of all ages can relate. Her popular series, Diary of a Teenage Girl (Multnomah), has sold more than 775,000 copies and her popular Christmas novellas have sold over 590,000 copies combined. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Editorial Reviews

"Once again Carlson touches the heart in this sweet, hopeful story of love finally found."—RT Book Reviews, starred review
"A sweet, quick read that celebrates love's beginnings as well the spirit of Valentine's Day."—Serena Chase, USAToday.com
"A delightful story about the loss and recovery of romance, love and hope. . . .ONCE UPON A WINTER'S HEART will revive anyone who's given up on romance and wants a happy ending."—Family Fiction
"Melody delivers all that is sweetest and best about love in this Valentine's novella and does it with a tasty dash of Italian spice. Now that's amore!"—Robin Jones Gunn, bestselling author of Sisterchicks in Gondolas
"A sweet love story, Once Upon a Winter's Heart is a beautiful picture of the joy of being swept off your feet."—Melanie Dobson, award-winning author of Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan and Where the Trail Ends
"Delightful. . .Should be on everyone's must-read list for the holiday season."—RT Book Reviews Top Pick (4 1/2 stars) on The Christmas Pony
"A wonderfully sweet story, with vivid descriptions that pull you right into the pages."—bookreporter.com on The Christmas Pony
"Carlson writes from her heart and it shines through on every page of this beautiful novel."—RT Book Reviews on River's Song

Product Reviews

3.8 Stars Out Of 5
3.8 out of 5
(5)
(3)
(1)
(2)
(1)
Quality:
3.9 out Of 5
(3.9 out of 5)
Value:
3.9 out Of 5
(3.9 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4 out Of 5
(4 out of 5)
75%
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Tug-at-your-heart romance
    April 15, 2014
    GraceThorson
    Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Emma is fed up with Valentine's Day, and in general, anything to do with romance. She moves in with her Italian grandmother, Noni, after her beloved grandpa, Poppi, dies. Emma relishes living in the old home filled with memories and the intimate time spent with her grandma. Her peace is short-lived, however, when her uptown mom moves in with a broken heart. With the spark of love dying between her parents, and her own sticky situation with a man by the name of Lane Forester causing her grief, Emma struggles to make sense of it all.

    My Thoughts:

    Melody Carlson is often known for her gritty teen novels/series. Lately, I've seen fewer of her original ideas being published, replaced instead with these light-hearted romances. What happened? She's penned over 200 books in varying genres and styles, but still, I was surprised to see her name printed across Once Upon a Winter's Heart. It's so different from what I remember of Melody Carlson.

    I could see this as a perfect movie for the Hallmark Channel during Valentine's Day. So, why did Melody tackle this piece? Maybe Melody grew tired of the gutsy undertaking of the tween/teen genre. I'm guessing it was because she wanted to try her hand at writing something else, but we may never know why Melody switched.

    The leading lady, Emma, named after a Jane Austen heroine, was steady and determined. Her focus was clear and her agenda was fleshed out well. The co-characters (besides Noni and Tristan) came across as emotionless and unfeeling. The leading man to win over Emma's heart lacked any real charm. His dull demeanor needed a hefty dose of enthusiasm. Because of this, he failed to reach out from the pages and convince me of his love for Emma.

    I don't want to give the story away, but the relationship between Emma, her mother, and her younger sister, Anne, was overwhelmingly frustrating. The author tried to stress that Emma loved her sister and mother (which is understandable), but it seemed heavily pushed upon the reader. Their "love for each other" didn't convince me enough that they actually did.

    I didn't feel much sympathy for Emma's selfish mother and sister—which was confusing. Was I supposed to care for these characters or did Melody wish for me to dislike them? I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but in the end, the story did not tie up Emma and Anne's relationship problems neatly. I wanted it to heal and mend. It was sort of disappointing.

    Once Upon a Winter's Heart by Melody Carlson struck a par for me. It was okay. I recommend this book to women who like short reads with a tug-at-your-heart romance. It's perfect for Valentine's Day with a box of chocolates and a warm, cozy blanket.

    This book was provided to me by Hachett Book Group in exchange for my honest review.
  2. Wasola, Mo
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Love is more than just a feeling
    March 18, 2014
    Jane Squires
    Wasola, Mo
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Never have I read a Valentine story I've loved so much. Since my husband grew up in an Italian town and his Aunt made great spaghetti and meat balls from scratch I really got into that.

    Emma's coming home to be with her Grandma after her Grandpa's passing would have been nice had her Mother not been at her Grandma's too.

    One thing this book does bring out is romance takes work. Man or woman both want to be loved fully by the other.

    I loved the bookstore but then I've loved books my whole life.

    I loved how Lane and Emma followed their heart.
  3. Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    March 16, 2014
    Kayreadn
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    "Once Upon a Winter's Heart" is a great read; light hearted, but still makes you think about how we might handle the same situations Emma goes through. It's a great read for those that dread Valentine's Day, and for those that also love it! It takes us into the Burcelli family after the death of their beloved Poppi. Although in this book we didn't meet Poppi we come to know him through the family members that survive him. The characters are true to life in today's world, those we love immediately and those we just don't like, but hope that eventually they will embrace Poppi's thoughts on life. I would love to see more books with the same characters to find out what happens next in their lives.
  4. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    A let down
    March 14, 2014
    sally89
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 1
    Normally I like reading Melody Carlson. But this book was a disappointment. It bothered me that Anne and Sondra were so interested in being selfish and in seeking a divorce for no good reasons. The attitude of, "well, if marriage isn't what you expect then it's O.K. to leave," bothered me. Maybe this is how the world sees things. But Christians should have a stronger commitment to marriage.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Rediscovering Love
    March 11, 2014
    Sarah
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    For all who have given up hope in romance, Emma Burcelli is your kindred spirit! In the ups and downs of learning to love, many of us get a little jaded--Emma perhaps more than most. Her bitterness toward Valentine's Day is beautifully contrasted with her sweet (and sometimes mousy) personality. She is a complex character whose story makes you feel as though you're reading a friend's story.

    What makes this story wonderful is that it doesn't give unrealistic expectations of love. Emma doesn't fall in love instantly and suddenly renounce her jaded spirit. Instead, her determined anti-Valentine's bitterness softens bit by bit until she begins regaining hope and learning to love.

    Emma's story is a fast read with a gentle pace. Even though Valentine's Day has passed, her story still resonates.
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