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Customer Reviews for Center Street Once Upon a Winter's Heart

Center Street Once Upon a Winter's Heart

After a decade of dating disasters and her parents' divorce, Emma Burcelli has given up on romance---until she meets Lane Forester. Just as her heart begins to soften, she learns that her sister is vying for Lane's affections! Emma's mother and sister insist Lane sees her only as a future sister-in-law---but could they be wrong?
Average Customer Rating:
3.75 out of 5
3.8
 out of 
5
(12 Reviews) 12
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (12 reviews)
5 stars
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9 out of 1275%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Review 1 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Tug-at-your-heart romance

Date:April 15, 2014
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GraceThorson
Location:Idaho
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Emma is fed up with Valentine’s Day, and in general, anything to do with romance. She moves in with her Italian grandmother, Noni, after her beloved grandpa, Poppi, dies. Emma relishes living in the old home filled with memories and the intimate time spent with her grandma. Her peace is short-lived, however, when her uptown mom moves in with a broken heart. With the spark of love dying between her parents, and her own sticky situation with a man by the name of Lane Forester causing her grief, Emma struggles to make sense of it all.
My Thoughts:
Melody Carlson is often known for her gritty teen novels/series. Lately, I’ve seen fewer of her original ideas being published, replaced instead with these light-hearted romances. What happened? She’s penned over 200 books in varying genres and styles, but still, I was surprised to see her name printed across Once Upon a Winter’s Heart. It’s so different from what I remember of Melody Carlson.
I could see this as a perfect movie for the Hallmark Channel during Valentine’s Day. So, why did Melody tackle this piece? Maybe Melody grew tired of the gutsy undertaking of the tween/teen genre. I’m guessing it was because she wanted to try her hand at writing something else, but we may never know why Melody switched.
The leading lady, Emma, named after a Jane Austen heroine, was steady and determined. Her focus was clear and her agenda was fleshed out well. The co-characters (besides Noni and Tristan) came across as emotionless and unfeeling. The leading man to win over Emma’s heart lacked any real charm. His dull demeanor needed a hefty dose of enthusiasm. Because of this, he failed to reach out from the pages and convince me of his love for Emma.
I don’t want to give the story away, but the relationship between Emma, her mother, and her younger sister, Anne, was overwhelmingly frustrating. The author tried to stress that Emma loved her sister and mother (which is understandable), but it seemed heavily pushed upon the reader. Their “love for each other” didn’t convince me enough that they actually did.
I didn’t feel much sympathy for Emma’s selfish mother and sister—which was confusing. Was I supposed to care for these characters or did Melody wish for me to dislike them? I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but in the end, the story did not tie up Emma and Anne’s relationship problems neatly. I wanted it to heal and mend. It was sort of disappointing.
Once Upon a Winter’s Heart by Melody Carlson struck a par for me. It was okay. I recommend this book to women who like short reads with a tug-at-your-heart romance. It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day with a box of chocolates and a warm, cozy blanket.
This book was provided to me by Hachett Book Group in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 2 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love is more than just a feeling

Date:March 18, 2014
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Jane Squires
Location:Wasola, Mo
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Never have I read a Valentine story I've loved so much. Since my husband grew up in an Italian town and his Aunt made great spaghetti and meat balls from scratch I really got into that.
Emma's coming home to be with her Grandma after her Grandpa's passing would have been nice had her Mother not been at her Grandma's too.
One thing this book does bring out is romance takes work. Man or woman both want to be loved fully by the other.
I loved the bookstore but then I've loved books my whole life.
I loved how Lane and Emma followed their heart.
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Review 3 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:March 16, 2014
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Kayreadn
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
"Once Upon a Winter's Heart" is a great read; light hearted, but still makes you think about how we might handle the same situations Emma goes through. It's a great read for those that dread Valentine's Day, and for those that also love it! It takes us into the Burcelli family after the death of their beloved Poppi. Although in this book we didn't meet Poppi we come to know him through the family members that survive him. The characters are true to life in today's world, those we love immediately and those we just don't like, but hope that eventually they will embrace Poppi's thoughts on life. I would love to see more books with the same characters to find out what happens next in their lives.
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Review 4 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

A let down

Date:March 14, 2014
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sally89
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Normally I like reading Melody Carlson. But this book was a disappointment. It bothered me that Anne and Sondra were so interested in being selfish and in seeking a divorce for no good reasons. The attitude of, "well, if marriage isn't what you expect then it's O.K. to leave," bothered me. Maybe this is how the world sees things. But Christians should have a stronger commitment to marriage.
+1point
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Review 5 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Rediscovering Love

Date:March 11, 2014
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Sarah
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
For all who have given up hope in romance, Emma Burcelli is your kindred spirit! In the ups and downs of learning to love, many of us get a little jaded--Emma perhaps more than most. Her bitterness toward Valentine's Day is beautifully contrasted with her sweet (and sometimes mousy) personality. She is a complex character whose story makes you feel as though you're reading a friend's story.
What makes this story wonderful is that it doesn't give unrealistic expectations of love. Emma doesn't fall in love instantly and suddenly renounce her jaded spirit. Instead, her determined anti-Valentine's bitterness softens bit by bit until she begins regaining hope and learning to love.
Emma's story is a fast read with a gentle pace. Even though Valentine's Day has passed, her story still resonates.
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Review 6 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Great Read

Date:February 27, 2014
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Wilani
Location:Franklin, NC
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
A great book about Valentine’s Day. It won’t be what you might think a syrupy love story, but a practical look at romance from all sides. When one of the character’s is hurt, she decides to pray for that person instead of becoming bitter or retaliating.
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Review 7 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Valentine's Day Read!

Date:February 25, 2014
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randomamb
Location:TX
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Do you hate Valentine's Day? Do you love Valentine's Day? If you answered yes to either of those questions, this book is for you! Once Upon a Winter's Heart invites us to spend Valentine's Day with the Burcelli family. We live through the main character, Emma Burcelli, who is a self-proclaimed Valentine's grinch. It doesn't help things that her beloved Poppi just died. Emma's grandparents (Nona & Poppi) had a love for the ages, and Emma is sure love is officially dead with her grandfather's passing. She returns home for his funeral and plans to stay with Nona for awhile. She's surprised to see that her mother is staying with Nona, too. Her parents never shone with affection quite the way Nona and Poppi did, but she never expected one of them would move out. Emma also can't figure out why her sister is divorced and moving on already. A good looking guy who was apparently mentored by Poppi threatens to disrupt Emma's relationship with her sister. This book is definitely not your typical romance story. Once Upon a Winter's Heart is a story of love, loss, hurt, and reconciliation, combined with knee-weakening romance a la Dean Martin, wine, and chocolate. My suggestion: put on Dean Martin's 'Amore', grab a glass of wine or juice and some chocolate, and treat yourself to a relaxing evening reading Once Upon a Winter's Heart!
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Review 8 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Not enough depth

Date:February 9, 2014
I've read several of Carlson's novels over the years. I've found her books to be powerful stories with strong messages (especially her stories for the YA market). So of course, I was excited to read her latest story, out just in time for Valentine's Day.
Once Upon a Winter's Heart by Melody Carlson was disappointing. There wasn't much depth—to the story or the characters. The characters seemed to be very one-dimensional, which made it hard to connect with them. Anne and Soundra were particularly unlikeable, and I kept waiting for someone to just tell them to deal with it! Emma was more likeable, but I needed her to stand up for herself.
Additionally, with nothing really happening until 100 pages in and the romance launching from 0 to 100 in about 20 pages, the timing just felt ... off. There were lots of loose ends, and the book just suddenly ended. Honestly, if the book hadn't been so short (160 pages), I probably wouldn't have finished it, but it probably needed to be longer to more fully develop the story and characters.
This book wasn't a good fit for me, but I'm sure some will enjoy it. [2 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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Review 9 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Too much world

Date:February 9, 2014
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Marya Rud
Location:Minnesota
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
The sister Ann is not divorced so she is not free to be making a romantic relationship with any one but her husband. Why was her family so willing to overlook that, Why all the alcohol and driving .Why a magican
Why not more prayer and God . I did like that Emma got Lane. Very huge dissapointment!!
+1point
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Review 10 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Delightful Read!

Date:January 29, 2014
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Judy K Burgi
Location:Kendallville, IN
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This novella was a quick fun read. I enjoy romance in books and while this was not heavy in the romance department it was definitely a sweet and caring one.
Family plays an important part in this story. We read what happens in broken disappointed relationships. These relationships grew apart because of lack of communication.
While God is a factor in this family’s life, the author did not over do it. I loved that the importance of prayer was indicated throughout this story.
Poor Emma, her self-esteem has taken a beating. She has always felt that she never measured up to her beautiful sister Anne. After all, Anne has always gotten what she wants. I must add that Anne made that perfectly clear to Emma. Will Anne rob Emma of happiness or will Emma finally stand up to Anne?
I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this novella and find out for yourselves the ins and outs of the Burcelli family! You will not be disappointed.
I have read other entertaining books by this author. Melody Carlson is an author you don’t want to miss!
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Review 11 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love will find you when you least expect it!

Date:January 8, 2014
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Heart2Heart
Location:Victorville, CA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
As Emma Burcelli heads home to her Nona's after learning of the death of her Poppi, she wonders if the last of the true romantic men has truly died as well. It seems like her Nona and Poppi's marriage was the perfect role model of what a happily ever after marriage really looked like, and after all the men she has ever met, there has been no one like Poppi. Guess all the good ones really are gone.
Leaving her marketing job in Seattle far behind after sensing this truly wasn't the dream job for her, she now has more than enough time to help her Nona get settled and help with the funeral arrangements. When she arrives at her Nona's home in the mountains, the last person she expected to see there was her mother. Thinking the worst, she heads inside only to learn that her mother has left her father. It seems that even her own parents couldn't make romance and love work in their own marriage living more like room mates than husband and wife. Oh sure, they could make it look good on the outside for appearances sake, but to those that really knew them like family, it was only a matter of time before things took a toll on either of them.
But her Nona's home wasn't situated for both of them to sleep properly and knowing her mother, Emma only believed it was a matter of time before her mother high tailed it back home. Without all the luxuries she had come to enjoy, living in a simple fashion hardly suited her mother including sleeping in a twin sized bed alongside Emma. Knowing that Valentine's day was truly something to be celebrated at her grandfather's bookstore, Nona asks Emma to help make sure all the decorations are up. But with romance and love being the furthest thing from her mind, Emma is the epitome of the Valentine's Day grouch. But when Lane Forester shows up late one rainy night, she wonder if the man her grandfather was mentoring could truly be her prince charming after all. The only thing standing in her way, is that her perfect blonde sister Anne has already claimed Lane as her boyfriend and has asked Emma to back off. But is it really that simple?
I received Once Upon A Winter's Heart by Melody Carlson compliments of Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This is such a charming and heartwarming book perfect as a gift for Valentine's day or anytime you want that wonderful feeling of falling in love all over again. Grab a glass of wine, some of your favorite chocolates and don't forget to add just the right music, Dean Martin and you've got the perfect recipe for love! I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!
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Review 12 for Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Just in time for Valentine's Day...

Date:January 6, 2014
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Jen Pen
Location:Midwest
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
SUMMARY:
Emma Burcelli no longer believes in romance. With the passing of her Grandpa, Emma decides to move back home to take care of her Nona and help with the family bookstore. To add to the turmoil, Emma’s mother has moved in with Nona as well and Emma’s sister is causing trouble. Nearing Valentine’s Day, Lane Forester happens to appear at the bookstore which makes Emma wonder if perhaps romance could be revived after all…
A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a cute novella just in time for Valentine’s Day. Melody Carlson is known for writing inspirational novellas and this one could be added to that ever growing list. A sweet, funny yet lighter read, Once Upon a Winter’s Heart was definitely satisfying. I look forward to reading more from Melody Carlson as I have also enjoyed Christmas at Harrington’s, The Christmas Bus and All I Have to Give.
RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies
*I received an complimentary copy of Once Upon a Winter’s Heart from Center Street Publishing and NetGalley for my honest review.
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