Wednesday, March 11, 2020


Rating: A comfortable sweatshirt from a local ski area

Summary:  After a lift attendant's skier crush is saved by her quick actions, he tells people they're engaged. Then he falls asleep for days as our poor liftie is left trying to determine what she should do.

Would you read more from this series? This series seems kind of weird. There are several authors writing to it, some of whom describe their work as Christian fiction and others of which, like McConnell, write secularly. I might read some them if I get back into Kindle Unlimited ( I signed up for three months for $3 but can't justify a regular subscription.) but I'm not leaning toward purchasing them. And I can't request them from my library because they are indie published and on Kindle Unlimited.

Note: This is an adult romance, but does not contain sex scenes.

This title had my full attention as soon as I saw it. My mind went, "While You Were Sleeping at a ski resort! Yes, please!" It both was and wasn't a retelling of the movie, though.

The book starts similar to to the film with a first person narrator talking about what her father tried to teach her before he died. It then switches to third person, which makes sense if you think of it as a movie, I suppose, but which I was a bit jarred by. And we never see anything aside from Mia's close third, so it could have been told entirely in first. Perhaps that doesn't fit into the series, though.

The main character in the movie, played by Sandra Bullock, is a Chicago subway worker named Lucy. I see why the name was changed for this book. The author is named Lucy, so here we get to follow someone named Mia. Mia is a lift attendant at a local ski hill in a vague mountain range. She has a crush on a guy named Ryder, who is somehow a skier rather than a snowboarder. He's a season pass holder who likes to flirt with her as he passes by but they haven't really talked very much. Nevertheless, when a pair of kids who should have banned from the resort months ago jostle him off a ski lift and he falls to the ground, he tells responders that she's his fiancee.

Those familiar with the film will recognize that this is an important deviation of plot. Although the base problem of "People think they're engaged when they're not" remains, the misconception now comes from the man lying about it (or possibly being so confused by a concussion that he's delirious) rather than the woman saying something that is misunderstood.

A second vital deviation then occurs. Just before being given something that knocks him out for the next several days, Ryder begs Mia, "Don't tell my family." And this is a problem because she already knows, and is close to, his estranged family. In fact, she's kind of half-dating his brother despite there being no sparks between them.

Mia now has to figure out whether Ryder really believes they're engaged and what it means if he does. And she feels she needs to take care of him. And she gets to worry about whether it's really okay not to tell his dad when she sees him, because he's always been really good to her and treated her like a daughter.

Nothing is really resolves when Ryder wakes up and continues to insist they're getting married. Mia can't tell if he really believes it or if he's messing with her, and doesn't want to risk upsetting him by asking because the doctor said he should avoid excitement.

I spent most of the book being uncertain if I was happy I remembered the source material so well or dismayed I'd ever seen it. There are a lot of Easter Eggs for those who know the film, my favorite of which is the conversation about leaning, but so much of the story is completely different that I felt somewhat as though I might have been happier without my brain constantly comparing the plots. It was a little like if I expected the plot of The Princess Bride and got something about someone named Bluebelle who was kidnapped by the Dread Pirate Bob but was actually in love with Prince La-dee-da, who sends the four fastest ships in his navy to rescue her and get her back to the castle in time for their wedding. I think I actually enjoyed the experience, but the comparisons were distracting.

Mia is a unobjectionable young woman who is trying to figure out her values. She's happier as a liftie than she is working in the marketing office, but the marketing office is a year-round position that utilizes her college degree and pays enough she can think about buying a house. But which is better for long-term happiness, a job she loves or financial security? To her credit, when a relationship with Ryder becomes something that could happen, she never once goes, "Well, he already owns a house... I could marry him and keep my outdoor job..." But she really doesn't seem to know much about him other than she's attracted to him and he doesn't get along with his family before she decides she's in love with him.

Ryder isn't a particularly deep character. He doesn't get along with his family because... I don't know. There was something about how he felt his step-mom was meant to be a replacement for his dead mother. He never clicked with her and resented his dad for remarrying. And just ignores his half-siblings because... I never really figured that out. They were all super nice people who showed no indication that they were anything other than loving and supportive of him. Nor did I figure out why he lived in this small town when he wasn't talking to his family. He's likable enough, though. He has a likable dog and isn't a slob, although he doesn't know how to cook. He has a job, although I don't think he's very good at it. (He's a lawyer, but signs an agreement not to sue the ski area over his accident even though they were grossly negligent in not kicking the kids who caused the accident off the mountain. The kids had been doing the same thing that got him hurt for months and the lifties had reported it to management as a serious safety concern. I can think of no justification for their passes not being revoked and them not being banned. Even after they nearly killed someone, there is no mention of them not being allowed back next season.)

This book is rather short, only 120 pages, so I'm classifying it under the tag novellas rather than calling it a full novel. And that's probably a lot of my problem with it. 120 pages isn't enough time to explore much depth, to get people from "We flirt some" to Happily Ever After with any believable detail. The conflicts are all easily solved, tension never gets built up about anything, and I was left feeling a bit disconnected. Oddly enough, the film that inspired this is also short and light, not to mention the fact that I've seen it at least a dozen times, but it always has more of an impact on me when I watch it than this did. But maybe I just like Bill Pullman?

I picked this up assuming I'd be tagging it with "sports" but it merely gets "snow." Mia is actually a skier and seems to understand the sport alright, but we never see any actual skiing. Oh, well. It is pretty cool to have a book about a lift attendant as it's a vital job in the ski industry but also not very glamorous.

So, to summarize... This book is a solid "alright" to me. I had hoped for more since the title promised it was going to combine two things I love, but I'm not upset I spent the time to read it.


Below you'll find the notes I took as I read. Clearly, they contain major spoilers.




I'm assuming this is a retelling of While You Were Sleeping

3% Starts out with dead dad instilling wisdom just like in the movie. The exception is the daughter is adopted by a B&B by a ski resort instead of left to her own devices in Chicago.

4% Shift from first person to third is off-putting. I guess it mimics the movie, which had a first person voice over delivering the backstory but was obviously third person as it was a movie. Mia is a liftie rather than working public transit, but she'll have the same "He passes me and smiles" thing going I assume 

6% These kids should have their passes revoked. Both of them, so it doesn't matter what their names are.

13% So he's the one who claims they're engaged and it isn't just a misunderstanding. Interesting change. It's he confused about who she is or has he been crushing on her all season?

22% Wait... She's been on dates with the brother?

31% I'd going to the movies isn't a date with Carter, then what were the dates they've supposedly been on?

52% He's awake! And still pretending they're engaged. Presumably he's hoping she'll go along with it long enough to decide she wants to keep him?

55% Why is she asking what he means about leaning? Has she not seen While You Were Sleeping?

83% Okay... So Ryder has made up with his family without Mia doing anything. Good for him?

89% Preserved the "I'm in love with your son. No, not that one.." bit.

92% Proposal on the ski lift. Nice.

94% "When did you fall in love with me?" "While you were skiing." I guess that's accurate, because I didn't see her do it in the book.

95% The End
It's cute. I was never quite sure why they decided they were in love rather than attraction, but it was a sweet story.

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