12 Dec Five Winters by Kitty Johnson
A warm, romantic and emotional festive read
At 35-years-old, Beth Bailey is still single – not because she is unlovable, but because as a teenager, she gave her heart to her best friend Rosie’s older brother Mark.
The problem is, Mark has only ever seen her as a sister, especially since teenage Beth came to live his family after the tragic death of her parents.
She’s regarded as another daughter by Mark and Rosie’s mum and dad, Sylvia and Richard, and she loves being with them, especially at Christmas.
But she’s not looking forward to this Christmas, as Mark will be there with his new bride Grace. How will Beth hide her heartache?
Deciding it’s time to move on, she hooks up with Jaimie Faulkner, divorced father of two young children, moving away from her friends and her job to embrace a new life in Cambridgeshire.
Will things work out, or is she doomed to spend all her Christmases longing for what she can’t have? Mark, babies of her own and a fairytale happy-ever-after.
As the years go on, she faces new challenges – loved ones disappear from her life, new friends are made. Her one constant is Mark but he seems happy with Grace …
Though the pivotal points of the narrative take place over five Christmases, this story was so much more than a festive romance, thanks to its strong themes of grief, loneliness and unrequited love.
That makes it sound like it might be depressing, but it is not at all downbeat, thanks to Beth’s courageous spirit. She’s honest with herself and with the reader, about her feelings not just for Mark, but for his family, and for her new family, Jaimie, Emily and Olivia.
Beth’s experience of step-parenting is explored frankly and honestly, and I found it a really moving part of the story. Little Emily and Olivia may not have welcomed her with open arms, but they’re delightful characters in their own right.
Richard and Sylvia, Rosie and Mark, and even Grace all add to the story’s strength. Richard and Sylvia’s loving acceptance of Beth as a surrogate daughter; Rosie’s loyal and fun friendship, and Mark’s calm and loving nature all complement Beth’s journey to happiness.
Grace is the “enemy” but she has her strengths, not least her perspicacity in sometimes seeing what Beth cannot, and offering her opportunities for reflection.
The narrative is emotional, funny and romantic, and the pace is great – Beth may not be living the life she truly wants, but there is always plenty going on as she forges ahead with her determination to find happiness, and a true sense of belonging with a family of her own.
Five Winters has been selected to be an Amazon First Reads title, which means it’s available as an ebook NOW and all December free of charge to Amazon Prime members and for 99p/99c for everyone else.
About the Author
Kitty Johnson lives in Norwich, Norfolk in the UK, with her partner and teenage son. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, and teaches creative writing part-time. A nature lover, Kitty enjoys walking in the local woods and by the sea in Norfolk with her dog. Also an artist, she likes to spend time in her studio when she has time. Kitty loves a challenge and once performed stand-up comedy as research for a book – an experience she found very scary but hugely empowering. Kitty also writes as Margaret K Johnson.
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers Lake Union Publishing for the copy of the book.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster