The Secret of Snow

Author: Viola Shipman
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Holiday
Source: Graydon House ( Netgalley )

Goodreads: As comforting and familiar as a favorite sweater, Viola Shipman’s first holiday novel is a promise of heartfelt family traditions, humorously real experience, and the enduring power of love and friendship.

Sonny Dunes, a SoCal meteorologist who knows only sunshine and seventy-two-degree days, is being replaced by an AI meteorologist, which the youthful station manager reasons “will never age, gain weight or renegotiate its contract.” The only station willing to give the fifty-year-old another shot is one in a famously nontropical place—her northern Michigan hometown.

Unearthing her carefully laid California roots, Sonny returns home and reacclimates to the painfully long, dark winters dominated by a Michigan phenomenon known as lake-effect snow. But beyond the complete physical shock to her system, she’s also forced to confront her past: her new boss, a former journalism classmate and mortal frenemy; more keenly, the death of a younger sister who loved the snow; and the mother who caused Sonny to leave.

To distract herself from the unwelcome memories, Sonny decides to throw herself headfirst into all things winter to woo viewers and reclaim her success. From sledding and ice fishing to skiing and winter festivals, the merrymaking culminates with the town’s famed Winter Ice Sculpture Contest. Running the events is a widowed father and chamber of commerce director, whose genuine love of Michigan, winter and Sonny just might thaw her heart and restart her life in a way she never could have predicted.

Ope’s Opinion: Sonny’s life was turned upside down and she ended up going home to her mother’s house. She was partly to blame for her situation, yet she seemed awfully whiney about it. A few times I wanted to tell her to be grateful for what she did have.

All through the book, Sonny was taken back to her childhood – memories of her sister kept coming to mind. This helped her to face her past, so she could move on. I liked how the author wrote those parts into the story. Her antagonistic relationship with Lisa never made sense to me and I thought they were both immature about it.

The winter setting was wonderful to read about this time of year. It made me feel as if I were there and was wishing for snow for the holidays.