A Midwinter Match – Jane Lovering

Published by: Boldwood Books
Date Published: 19/08/2021
Date Read: 09/07/2021

Ruby Oldbridge needs to learn to take her own advice. 

A brilliant counsellor at work in York, she is however floundering in her own life. Her romantic track record is woeful, her finances are in a pickle, and she’s back in a house-share after splitting up with her useless ex.

But one thing Ruby is brilliant at, is helping other people find a way through their problems, and she excels at the job she loves, doing just that. 

Happy-go-lucky, Mr Positivity, Zac Drewe also loves his job – the trouble is, it’s the same as Ruby’s, and the management have decided to ‘rationalise’ their department. There’s only room for one of them.

As the snow and winter close in on York, Ruby and Zac have everything to lose, and Ruby starts to wonder if the happy face Zac shows the world, might be disguising a sadder secret. 

Set against one another, they are unlikely friends. But perhaps, if they could take the time to understand each other, they might discover that rather than rivals, they could be the best thing that ever happened to one another… 

Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood for the advanced reader copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I hadn’t read any of Jane’s previous work so this was a brand new experience for me, and a positive one at that, her writing is beautiful.

There is something so warming and comforting about reading a wintery Christmas book in the height of summer.

All these happily-ever-after books are quite predictable – which is part of their appeal in my opinion – and this is no different. I could have written the ending within a chapter or two. Some may see this as a complaint but I actually think it allowed me to focus more on the characters themselves and the writing style, rather than worrying what was going to happen like you do with other genres such as thrillers. It means it is a warm, comforting book to curl up with when the rain is tumbling down outside (the joys of an English summer).

Having been made redundant at the end of last year, I could really sympathise with a lot of the secondary characters in this book, and Jane never made them pathetic, benefits-hungry characters just for entertainment value. They were given their own stories and personalities.

York – and York at Christmas time – is a gorgeous city, and Jane paints it in all its glory it’s like there, walking through the shambles, with carols coming from the cathedral and fairy lights twinkling above.

One thing I did like especially was the sensitivity in which Jane approaches depression, anxiety, and mental health in general, which can so often be attributed to villains in novels. So it was really lovely to see a “normal” character going through these struggles.

I will finish by quoting the final line for you, and I think it’s important we all remember it: “Life didn’t have to be perfect to be happy”.

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