As dark clouds hang menacingly over Christmas celebrations this year, escape into the wintertime world created by Milly Johnson, the Barnsley author whose warm-hearted stories are the perfect match for her hearty Yorkshire humour.
There can be no better way to get ready for the season of family, friendship and togetherness than in the company of the queen of eternal optimism and feel-good fiction… a worldwide bestselling novelist who has turned clever rom-coms into a very special art form.
Johnson, winner of the 2020 Romantic Novelists’ Association Outstanding Achievement Award, is loved for her stories that blend heartfelt emotions with laugh-out-loud humour, gritty reality with gorgeous romance, and moments of sheer magic with the downright prosaic.
And she’s back with what she (and her ecstatic readers!) reckon is her best book yet… a festive-themed, big-hearted feast bursting with love, laughter, tears, a small cast of perfectly drawn characters that readers will love as much as their own best friends, and lots and lots of snow.
It’s the day before Christmas Eve and it’s snowing hard across the Yorkshire Moors. Bridge Winterman is driving to a country house hotel to meet her soon to be ex-husband, Luke Palfreyman, to sign the final divorce papers before Christmas.
But when the weather suddenly turns into ‘a nuclear winter,’ Bridge changes course and ends up at the Figgy Hollow Inn, an attractive old pub nestling in a tiny hamlet in the middle of nowhere.
Only problem is that it’s locked and no one is at home but with the help of a screwdriver and a dubious past, Bridge lets herself in and manages to let Luke know where she is before her phone signal dies.
Luke, meanwhile, is not surprised that the meet-up with Bridge is not going well… she is ‘a walking jinx’ and living with her was like being in ‘a whirlpool full of piranhas’ compared to the even flow of his days with new girlfriend Carmen.
Even before Luke arrives, two more travellers turn up, seeking sanctuary from the blizzard. PA Mary Padgett is driving her boss, Jack Butterly, owner of a successful scone-making company, to meet a client but they have also been blown off course.
Mary has been trying to get hard-working, hard-nosed Jack to notice her for four years, but he can only see the efficient PA she is at work. Mary knows that underneath his steely veneer is someone lonely, vulnerable and sad and she could be just what he needs to melt the ice.
Last to seek sanctuary at Figgy Hollow are married couple, Charlie and Robin, who have shared a happy life together (even if ‘gentle squabbling’ has been part of their 32-year relationship’s DNA) and were on their way to a luxury hotel in Scotland for a very special Christmas, until the weather stopped them in their tracks.
With the snow continuing to fall, will the inn give them everything they were hoping to find this Christmas… and much more besides?
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day is a truly memorable romantic comedy that melts the heart and makes the spirits soar as three very different couples settle in for a Christmas which wasn’t what they had planned, but turns out to be the Christmas that will help to map out their futures.
Johnson’s wide-ranging experiences as a columnist, joke-writer, poet, motivational speaker and writer who champions women, have made her a consummate ‘people person’ and this tasty dish is served with a big dollop of human insight, moments of powerful emotional intensity, a sprinkling of ‘Milly’ magic, and lashings of Yorkshire wit.
On their journey to unexpected realisations, revelations and resolutions, this disparate group of strangers encounter the comfort of new friendships, learn how to say goodbye, and experience a range of emotions from happiness and heartache to hope and acceptance.
Written with her trademark light touch, but mined from a deep well of experience, intuition, and compassion, this is the perfect book to treasure for yourself… or parcel up as a gift for your own special loved one.
(Simon & Schuster, hardback, £14.99)