I am a huge Belinda Jones fan and was extremely pleased when I received an early copy of her new release (out early November 2012 in the UK) Winter Wonderland. The front cover is slightly different to her usual style but certainly no less appealing. The synopsis of this book explains that travel journalist Krista is attending the Winter Carnival in Quebec, Canada. With the temperature plummeting, she discovers that there is a lot more to this part of the world than snow.
I actually liked the fact that the synopsis was pretty short and sweet and as I tucked into the book I was looking forward to finding out more. The first thing I was surprised about was the intro to the book. We see the main character Krista wakes up in the Ice Hotel. This may sound like a strange point, but part of the attraction of Belinda's books for me is the build up to the travels around the world. With the intro being already at the location, it kind of threw me. Undeterred I carried on as I got to know Krista and what brought her to Canada.
I have to be honest and say that at a quarter of the way through I just couldn't connect with Krista. Her escapades start very early in the book, yet I just felt like it was all a little bit di-jointed. At around the halfway mark I started to warm up to Krista and the other eclectic characters. One thing that Belinda Jones certainly does well is describing the places in such detail that you begin to wonder whether you can squeeze a quick holiday in to your own life. The magical was she described the areas was as usual absolutely spot on.
For me though, this was where it stopped. The story itself was okay and at three quarters of the way through I was a lot more interested in what was happening to other characters in the book such as the very mysterious Jacques who has very dark skeletons in his closet. There are certain elements of this book that were pure Jones, such as the husky riding and the very laughable attempts Krista makes trying to ride the Husky Sleds. Aside from that there was definitely something missing for me.
I am still an ardent Jones fan and will always eagerly await her new releases. However, I just don't think I connected well enough with the characters in this book, and therefore thought it wasn't as good as some of her other books. On the plus side, if anybody is considering visiting Quebec, just read this book and I guarantee you will finish it and be down the travel agents within a matter of hours.