Book Review

‘Once Upon a Highland Christmas’ by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

OUAHC SEWSTORY: Once Upon A Highland Christmas

Warrior Grim Mackintosh understands why his friend Archibald MacNab has decreed there be no trace of Christmas in his castle. After a devastating attack destroyed everything-and everyone-in Archie’s life, he prefers to stew in his own misery until the holiday passes. But Duncreag has seen enough tragedy. Grim decides to throw a grand Yuletide feast, one that the bards will sing about for years to come, one that will remind his laird how beloved he is. He can’t do it alone, though. Grim needs an accomplice . . .

There’s nothing Breena O’Doherty won’t do for Archie, so she’s thrilled to help Grim with his plan. Yet she has a Christmas wish all her own-to win Grim’s heart-and this might be her only chance to make it come true. As Breena and Grim work together to bring the joy of the season to the cold, gloomy castle and to the heart of the cantankerous chieftain, an undeniable passion ignites between them. But when a shocking secret about Breena’s past comes to light, threatening everything she holds dear, will it ruin Christmas in Duncreag forevermore?

REVIEW: I don’t know about you, I not only like reading books that the author writes, but I get a kick out of reading dedications, acknowledgments, pre and post notes, credits…I do sound like a worm…a BOOKworm, don’t I?! 

This books dedication brought me to tears and in a minute you’ll know why…here it is:

With all my heart for Leah Weller, dear and long-time friend, fellow nature girl, champion of needy animals, old soul, and lover of all things medieval and Scottish. Leah and I go way back, right to Devil in a Kilt days. She’s shared my path since then. In truth we’ve walked tandem even before that and surely will again, someday.

For very special reasons, this story simply had to be hers. She knows why.

Merry Christmas, Lady Leah.

With Highland love from Grim.

I just want to say that I’m so Blessed by having someone like Lady Leah here on the blog, ‘having my back’. Congratulations on this wonderful dedication. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person. I HEART you dearly, my friend.

And now my review…

Ms. Welfonder is starting her new Scottish series, Scandalous Scots, with this short novella as an introduction to it.

‘Once Upon a Highland Christmas’ is a novella in which Grim and Breena find their happily ever after-FINALLY!

As usual, Sue-Ellen Welfonder not just tells the tale, she takes you ‘inside’ it by creating a world that fascinates.

We finally get to watch this fierce warrior, who we met in the earlier stories, admit to his feelings for Breena, Irish lass almost as fierce as he is.

This is another little novella that packs a punch, and honestly it never felt short. It had a fast pace, great plot and characters were well-developed, so that could be the reason that it felt like a full novel.

Old Archie MacNab’s decree to forgo Yuletide celebration brings Grim and Breena together as they decide to thwart the old man’s wishes.

Breena is a wonderful heroine. It was a delight to watch this strong-willed and independent girl who was much wise in the ways of the world but ignorant of love. Grim was a wonderful Alpha male character with many sides to him and every side way too charming. Both are charismatic with high level of chemistry between them.

The research Sue-Ellen does for her stories are priceless, as she paints the wonderful setting that transports the reader into the Scotland of long ago.

I know that the fans of her Highland Warriors will have much fun reading Grim’s tale, but I’d like to recommend this story to all of you that have never read this author. This heartwarming, captivating and sweet Scottish tale would be a perfect time to be introduced to her unique writing style and great talent at weaving a wonderful story with a believable, sweet romance.

Keep an eye out for ‘To Love a Highlander’ which will be released in 2014 and is the first full length novel in this new and much-anticipated series.

Melanie for b2b

*Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


14 thoughts on “‘Once Upon a Highland Christmas’ by Sue-Ellen Welfonder”

    1. LOL!
      I can only imagine. If it made me cry, then it made you too 🙂
      Like I said, it was well deserved.
      HUGS my friend.

  1. Mel, thank you so much for such a beautiful review. The beginning made me misty-eyed. (the part about Leah’s dedication) We have a long ‘shared history,’ Leah and I. This story had to be hers.

    One of my greatest goals when writing is to transport the reader into the world of the story, make them feel as if they are there, on scene, with the characters, living the tale. I am so glad that you felt that when reading the novella. And thanks so much for your kind words about my research. I love medieval Scotland so much, every aspect of the times and certainly the ‘place.’ I’ve always loved medieval Scottish history and enjoy weaving in bits of this and that to make the story as real and visual for readers as possible.

    Thank you so much for the lovely review. 🙂

    1. Oh my Dear!
      You’re welcome.
      When I saw the dedication …well, tears just kept coming. Sometimes, there’s a special bond between a certain author and a reader that goes way beyond the written/read word. There occurs a connection, a spark…

      Leah thought to skip the rev on this one for the blog, but I got it off NetGalley, so I thought to surprise Leah w/my intro. I had to share this with the bookworms. It’s very special thing when an author does something like that 🙂 I know 🙂

      Keep on doing what you’ve been doing…we’re not going anywhere…we’re bookworms…just waiting to get into your books 🙂



      1. Well, I feel terrible. I knew Leah had read the story and written a review, so ‘assumed’ it was hers when I saw one was posted. I’d just returned from Em’s walk and glanced in quickly before having to make dinner. (was rushing) I saw the review up and read the first bit, saw the dedication, and teared up myself, thinking Leah had shared it. I swiftly switched back to the ‘guest blog’ before reading further.

        Anyway…. I LOVE the review and am ever so pleased the story resonated with you. 🙂 Leah and I know each other to the bone. Your describe it well, we met *long ago, when Devil released, and hit it off, recognizing a deeper bond at once. I believe in such things as anyone who knows me (or reads my work) should know.

        *Literally ‘long ago.’ 😉

      2. Sue-Ellen, I’m like you in the sense of “horn tooting” (smiling here). That dedication was such a personal thing for me… so many feelings surround it, I feel humbled and proud at the same time (was going to say if that’s even possible, but it is because I feel them), I feel the love in it, the trust, the loyalty, the bone deep knowing. I had only shared with family and a few friends, the dedication, and felt those who read the book would see it, of course, and not from a sense of anything other than being one who doesn’t resonate “look at me”, I just didn’t show or tell everyone. So, when Mel reved the book and mentioned it, all the tears started flowing again and I will admit to feeling special. Not special as being anything that I’m not, but special as in it is very rare, these type of bonds we share, and I am bone grateful that I found you in this life, this time around.

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