Cover Image: The Secret of Snow

The Secret of Snow

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Net Galley for the advanced copy of this book. I have never read a Viola Shipman book before, however I can guarantee you it won't be the last book that I read by this author. I was made aware of this author by the Friends and Fiction webcast and I am glad that I listened to their recommendation, what a great story! I loved where the book was set. What a great story about a very down on her luck lady who has made some horrendous errors, many of which are due to a tragedy in her past. It was uplifting to read how she was able to come to terms with her past and move ahead with her life to finally be at peace with herself and find love. This story captured me right from the first page and held my interest until the very end. It encompassed so many wonderful traits in people, love of family, traditions, empathy, and forgiveness. A great read from start to finish!
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“Snow angels are winter’s way of saying hello to God.”
My first read by Viola Shipman and it’s wonderful storytelling. It’s a combination of funny and sad, of hope and disappointments, family memories and healing. Love the various characters to love and hate; even the Michigan weather, in my opinion is a character in itself. Woven throughout the novel are traditional winter activities and festivals.  A message of healing, being true to oneself, and second chances. As the book states – “But running doesn’t solve anything… it just distances you from the love we deserve.” A highly recommended read.  
Comfy Chair Books (October 17, 2021)
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This book is a love story to Michigan, in particular, snowy winters in northern Michigan. 50 year old meteorologist, Sonny, comes home after her career ended disasterously in Palm Springs. She moves back in with her mother, and faces the demons she’s been running away from for years. It’s about love, forgiving yourself, second chances and starting over. Sweet story.
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This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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I thought this was a good book about family, first and foremost, and forgiveness. 

Sonny left Michigan behind as soon as she was old enough to leave. Her younger sister died and it practically broke Sonny. She felt like the only way she could keep going was by getting away from the memories. Everything about winter in Michigan reminds her of her sister. Sonny’s in her 50’s and she’s barely been back since she left for college. Losing her dad was the double whammy. But when she decided to leave and not look back, she left her mom behind and alone. They could have turned to each other, instead Sonny ran. She has been living in California for years. It never snows, it’s hardly ever even cold. Sonny loves her job as a successful tv meteorologist.

Then Sonny gets fired. The station has decided to replace their anchors with AI anchors that never age.
Sonny has an embarrassing confrontation about this on live tv. Unfortunately she goes viral. Now she’s not only lost her job but no one else wants to take a chance on her. Only one station wants her and it’s in Michigan with a woman Sonny wasn’t very nice to in college.

She very reluctantly accepts the job.
The station decides it would be fun to introduce Sonny to their viewers by making her do all the most wintery activities Michigan has to offer.
There’s cardboard sledding, yeti contests, all kinds of things that might be considered fun to someone other than Sonny.

The longer Sonny stays, and the more winter activities she does, the more her memories of her sister sneak up on her.

Sonny finally starts to face the truth: running away from everything familiar to her did not help her heal. Maybe it’s time to deal with the past. Maybe she can really be happy if she does. She has another chance to spend time with her mom and she has met a wonderful man named Mason who wants Sonny to open up to him.

I loved Sonny’s mother most of all. She’s a fantastic character. She’s very lovable and wise and a bit quirky too. The best parts of this story, in my opinion, were of Sonny and her mom.

Icicle is also a sweet character. 

I liked that Sonny’s mom and Sonny’s love interest Mason are both teaching Sonny lessons about dealing with grief.
And I love that Sonny is able to teach her coworker Icicle some lessons as well.

Sometimes I found Mason’s conversations to be really wordy and more information than I wanted (not in a TMI situation, more that I care less about Leland blue than he does). If I were to change something, I’d just have Mason’s talks be a bit shorter. But, hey, I’m an introvert, I’m not a talky person myself :)

I somewhat misunderstood that this book would be a bit christmassy. It’s really not. This is not a light Christmas book, this is a rather heavy book set in the winter. But it’s a really good journey. I think you’ll be really happy to see these characters along on their journeys. It’s quite sad at times but every single one of them has the potential to be incredibly happy again and I think that’s pretty fantastic.

I read an early ebook edition from NetGalley, thanks!
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I had the privilege of reading this book digitally from NetGalley. I recently discovered Viola Shipman/Wade -- his book the Heirloom Garden is fantastic and now one of my favorites. Very vivid, descriptive, and well researched and inspiring. 

The Secret of Snow is another great book by Wade with some meaningful growth and messages. I've once again highlighted a lot of quotes in my kindle to reflect on! It was a lighthearted read, but also filled with some science and insightful research, especially about the weather/meteorology. The book is heavily set in Traverse City, Michigan, and the author really captures the essence of the cold city, the beauty of the season, and the thrill of winter fun. I love this book as a nice read to get into the spirit of winter.

In terms of the characters, I did have a harder time connecting with the main character; she didn't read like she was 50 years old at all, more like 30. I liked Mason and Sonny's mother for characters though. 

Overall it was a great holiday read, a sweet story with meaningful messages. The journey of healing was very inspiring. I really love Viola/Wade as an author and look forward to reading more of his books!
4 stars. 

Some quotes to note: 
"I can’t control the world like I’ve always wanted to do. I can’t run from reality. What did you tell me a while back? Life involves loss, grief and setbacks. How we choose to deal with all of that is living. I woke up, and I choose to just live in the moment today.”"

"“Winter has a way of making us see the world from a different perspective,” Mason says. “In winter’s bare bones fragility, we either see the beauty or we see the harshness. We feel the warmth or the cold. We witness a season of stunning change or experience a season of exhausting repetition.” He gestures to the sculpture behind us, which gleams. “We see a season of light or we see a season of unending darkness.”"

"Winter can change a person. It can show you the delicate structure of the world when everything is stripped clean. It can illuminate your soul when the world is cloaked in darkness. It can warm your heart when everything else is frozen. It can let you hear your own thoughts for the first time when the ​earth finally falls silent."
"You can see the beauty that has been created in harsh times.
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I felt like this had a good premise but while it dwelled on past issues it also seemed to get wrapped up at the end pretty quickly. I also kept forgetting that Sonny wasn't in her 20's or 30's due to her behavior. Mason also felt like an unnecessary prop at times. I can see older readers enjoying this one. 

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Sonny Dunes is a 50 year old meteorologist in Southern California who faces a harsh life transition when her job is outsourced to an AI solution.  She doesn't handle the change well, and social media shares that crash with the masses.  She retreats back to her hometown of Michigan and lands a position at a small television station.  Sonny isn't necessarily greeted with a warm welcome by the employees there, so she has to deal with building those relationships, and also face some of the history there, including her sister's death.  Sonny jumps into all of the traditional winter activities in the community and discovers some new things about herself, and finds a new relationship.
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Snow makes everything a bit more magical and it made this story even more wonderful. Sonny if fired from her meteorologist job only to be replaced by a AI that won't age. She returns home and finds the only place willing to give her a job is the local station in Michigan. She suddenly away from her sunny SoCal and back in snowy Michigan. She decides to dive right into the Michigan lifestyle by trying all winter activities she can. She also has to deal with the past and the reasons she left Michigan to begin with. The Secret of Snow is a lovely heartfelt story about facing your past and finding yourself along the way.
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No question that this is Viola Shipman's best work. It includes love, second chances, the power of family, forgiveness, and of course, lots and lots of snow. Highly recommend this magical and miraculous story. Thank you, Netgalley, for my arc.
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Viola Shipman is an INCREDIBLE writer. When I picked up this book, I sank into a world filled with possibilities. Filled with hope, love, family. A world where mistakes are okay. We all make them.

This wonderful story makes you see the world in a new light. It teaches you about weather and snow. How great is that! Living in Wisconsin with winter just ahead, I see more possibilities with what's to come. The snowflakes each unique and beautiful. The love of family and the hope for a good tomorrow.

This is life. This is what "The Secret of Snow" is all about.

Pick up a copy. I LOVED it!!!!!!!
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I received an electronic ARC from Harlequin Trade Publishing through NetGalley.
Shipman creates characters that connect with many readers. They relate to the emotions shared in the present and the grief held over from the past. Sonny is a meteorologist who chose this career due tragedy in her family. Her commitment to weather prediction comes from her hope/need to save lives to atone for the death she could not stop in her family. Readers meet her when she is fired for being too old for the position in California. She has a drunken meltdown on air and flees home to Michigan to restart her career. She's helped by a college acquaintance who wanted to be a friend and her mom who wants her to heal and stop running from the past. Yes, there is a romance involved but it blends in with the overall healing message from Shipman. 
Traverse City, Michigan is lovely in the winter and makes the perfect setting for the various analogies drawn with weather terms and life. The descriptions capture the beauty of the season and place readers in the midst of the winter fun.
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The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman A mid-life crisis and lost job bring Sonny Dunes back to Michigan where she reflects upon her past and has a difficult time dealing with her issues.  While the characters were well developed and more or less believeable, found it difficult to relate to Sonny.  The author's fans are sure to enjoy the story.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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The Secret of Snow was primarily a novel about meteorologist 'Sonny Dunes' going back to her home state of Michigan and processing her grief regarding her sister's death as a young teen. This book had so much potential, but unfortunately fell short of delivering the true emotional depth it was seeking to. The thoughts and feelings of the main character Sonny/Amberrose were laid out so clearly, that there was nothing really for her to discover. It was obvious from the very beginning what her struggles and issues were, and how she would overcome them. Her relationship with Lisa was also quite lackluster, as their history wasn't really explored besides the occasional "you didn't want to be friends with her because she reminded you of Joncee." All that being said, I will recommend it to some of my seniors who enjoy gentle reads. 

Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced readers copy.
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Oh, my heart.....I’m a sucker for a winter themed book. And this one is just adorable. It’s not a Christmas book, but it’s just winter themed, about a meteorologist from Palm Springs losing her job and going back home to Michigan to work for the local channel where she grew up. There’s SO much more to the story though.

It’s a beautiful novel about going home again, overcoming grief, finding one's self, and dealing with the life of Michigan in the winter! All Viola Shipman books are love letters to Michigan and this is no exception! Make sure to pre-order The Secret of Snow, out 10/26!

Thank you to Graydon House for the ARC!
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The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman is the perfect book for readers who want to believe in second chances in all facets of your life. It may come at a cost but it may be possible when you give it a chance. The story emphasizes how ghosts in your past can be overcome with enough effort, love, and understanding..I loved the plot and characters.
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“I believe in life, I believe the good outweighs the bad. I believe we’re on a journey here that is filled with beauty in pain, happiness and horrors, highs and lows, But it is a journey we must take because we never know the impact our lives and love will have on others.”

Sonny Dunes is fifty, recently fired and has had a “breakdown” on air. 
She needs to start over and so she returns home to Michigan.. in the Winter and the ghosts she has run away from the last few decades…. Slowly turning back into Amberrose Murphy.
Mason knows loss and love and everything in between. He wants  a future with Sonny but Sonny has a lot of past healing to overcome. 

I loved all the characters in this book and I love how the Michigan Winter became the strongest character of all. The story of love, loss, second chances, and being yourself!!
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The Ghosts Of Christmases Past. This is a story of how running away from your pain can be just as painful - even when buried - as staying and working through it. Here, we actually get to see a bit of both, along with a fair degree of real-world, perfectly-within-story-yet-real, commentary. Unlike the last book from Shipman I reviewed, where one character was seemingly designed as little more than a strawman pin cushion for the author to lob everything she (he) hated about that type of person into the book, the characters here all felt much more authentic and true to the situations they found themselves in. Even Sonny's precipitous meltdown near the front of the book is wild, yet "realistic" - many of us would at minimum *consider* doing exactly what she did, and if we found ourselves in the exact situation she was at that moment... yeah, totally realistic. :D But just as realistic is the pain and the ghosts that Sonny has been running from for 30 years, and when she is forced to go home and ultimately confront the pain... also, so very realistic. Spoken as someone just slightly younger than Sonny (nearly 40) who very nearly lived her scenario. (In my own case, there was an accident where I was driving and both of my brothers were in the car, yards from my house - our mom heard the impact. Fortunately we all survived with little lasting damage, but because of that I could that much more easily empathize with Sonny - I could well see my life turning out very differently had that particular day become much, much darker.) While this is more drama than comedy, with a dash of romance thrown in (YMMV on that one, but I thought it was subtle enough that it added more than it detracted), there is certainly enough comedy here to keep the drama from being overwhelming, while allowing the parts that *need* to hit harder to do so. Truly an excellent book, and very much recommended.
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The Secret of Snow 
by Viola Shipman 
Pub Date: October 26, 2021 
Graydon House 

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.
I was recently introduced to the writing of Viola Shipman in an online organization I am in,  Friends & Fiction.  
I saw the author interviewed and it sparked a desire to read more of his books! 
This one is no exception! Great holiday book that I will be glad to recommend to our patrons. 

Thanks to Graydon House and NetGalley for the ARC. 
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This is my first Viola Shipman book and I plan to read others now that I have discovered how enjoyable this author is.  This story revolves around a 50 year old meteorologist named Sonny Dunes who has escaped her home in Michigan for the warm and faraway climate of Palm Springs.  She finds herself being replaced by a  robot weather caster and has an on-air meltdown.  She is offered a new job at a small TV station in her hometown of Traverse City, Michigan and returns home in the middle of a very cold winter.  Her new co-workers are only mildly accepting of the new employee and one is downright meanly jealous.  The mean girl decides to sabotage Sonny.  Sonny learns that home is a good place to be and that friends are found in many places.  I was a little disappointed that the author barely dealt with the problem of age discrimination but he did describe northern Michigan beautifully and as a Michigander, I loved that!  This novel contains some angst, a lot of soul searching, some romance, and lots of feel good moments.  It's a good, entertaining read.
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