An Off-Piste Christmas #BookReview #Novella #Aria

Written by Julie Houston


150 GJR hrt


Prepare to spend Christmas in the Italian alps…

The last thing Harriet Westmoreland wants is Christmas away from home, particularly when skiing, snow, heights and freezing her backside off are on the menu. While her own family, together with her best friend Grace’s, are soon whizzing down ridiculously scary mountains in the fashionable Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Harriet is stuck in the remedial class on the nursery slopes unable, it seems, to remain vertical.

Tired of trying to stay upright in the dunces’ class, Harriet decides to overcome her fear of heights and take her bruised body off to explore the refugios in the magnificent Dolomites above Cortina. And maybe catch a glance of George Clooney, rumoured to be in town…

But what happens next triggers a totally unexpected avalanche of events which proves that, for friends Harriet and Grace and all their families, Christmas really is a time for little miracles…


100 GJR hrt





100 GJR hrt


Fun, Frolics .. and Empathy!      Stars 5


I bought this book purely on the basis of Julie Houston’s previous novels without realising it featured the same characters; and it is fab-U-lous!!

Harriet and Grace, along with their respective families – and friends – are heading to a very posh ski resort where they have been given the loan of an upmarket chalet. Whilst most of the party are thrilled at the prospect of flying down the snowy runs, Harriet is privately horrified at having to join the kids in the learners class and eventually decides that falling on her backside all the time is too much! Deciding to do a bit of sightseeing and exploring the numerous coffee shops whilst hoping for a glance of George Clooney, rumoured to be in the area, Harriet catches a glimpse of someone else – and not anyone she ever expected to see again. The repercussions are earth-shattering for all of them . . .

For anyone who follows my reviews, you may remember that this particular author’s writing has caused me to shake the bed with my laughter disturbing my husband’s sleep on more than one occasion! I managed to avoid wakening him this time by dint of stuffing my hand in my mouth and shoving the thick winter duvet between us. Every time Grace began humming, I started giggling! This is a tremendously entertaining tale, beautifully written as always, and showing not only this author’s skill but also her empathetic nature. I just loved everything about it and I’m so glad I spotted it for sale; unusually, I wasn’t alerted to it’s publication on social media and I would have hated to miss out on such fun and frolics. Worth all five glittering stars, and then some!

I purchased this book; all stated opinions are entirely my own and completely honest.


Tags: novella, rom-com
  • Format: ebook
  • Size: 129 pages
  • Publisher: Aria
  • Publication Date: 7 November 2019
  • Purchase Links: Google Play
  •                                 Kobo
  •                                 amazon


100 GJR hrt


Author Bio


Julie Houston


Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one-year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

She hates skiing, gets sick on boats and wouldn’t go pot-holing or paddy diving if her life depended on it.

She is published by HeadOfZeus/Aria and represented by Anne Williams at KHLA Literary agency.


Follow Julie


Twitter: @juliehouston2

Facebook: Houston




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