After finished reading Chris Manby's Girl Meets Ape book, I was on a reading trance and immediately searched for another book to peruse. And so I come across this book. Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones. Or more commercially known as the Belinda Jones Travel Club. Whichever tickles your fancy.
Imagine waking up in a snow globe...
That's how travel journalist Krista feels when she arrives in magical Quebec to report on Canada's glittering Winter Carnival.
Over ten sub-zero days Krista's formerly frozen hear begins to melt as she discovers an enchanting world of ice palaces, husky dog-sledding and maple syrup treats galore. And the she meets Jacques, a man as handsome and rugged as he is mysterious...
The two share a secret that could bond them forever, but can they find a way to break through the protective layers around their hearts to warm up this winter wonderland?
For me, I love this book so much because of the info that I got out from this book. Not saying the story and plot doesn't interest or fancy me, but the other features of the book that I was more drawn towards the carnival and all the things that Quebec can offer. I discovered quite a few interesting facts in the book such as the church where Celine Dion got married, the spot where Leonardo DiCaprio was filming for 'Catch Me If You Can', Grace Kelly's photograph when she visited Quebec's Carnival back in the 1969, and quite a few others actually.
Speaking of Quebec, I've never been there but from the first few chapters of the book, you can tell that it is a motherfucking cold place. And you can feel the frigidness of the place when the author explains in the book about the idea of an ice hotel, called Hotel De Glace. Ice beds and all. You figure it out.
What I find interesting in this book is the foods and drinks that I've never head of before. Such as poutine. At first, when I read the word poutine, the author didn't actually explain what is is. So I went and Googled it to find out what it is. And imagine my surprise to find out that Poutine is made of a combination of chips, topped with cheese curds and bathed with brown gravy. Sounds delicious? I think it really is. Too bad I don't know where to find poutine in Malaysia. The only best thing that could come close to what poutine might (and I emphasis on MIGHT) taste like would be the Chili Cheese Fries at Carls Jr. or the Texas Cheese Fries in Chillis. I don't know, I'm just guessing.
Then comes the caribou. My god, I can believe I am actually longing to try it. It's a sweetened alcoholic beverage composed of red wine, hard liquor (usually whisky), and maple syrup or sugar. It is a premixed beverage that you can find in Quebec. It can be consumed hot or cold, depending on the weather and served with citrus and cinnamon, in the manner of mulled wine. Caribou have many variations but normally it is usually made by mixing 75% of red wine or port, and 25% of hard liquor (usually white whisky, but also brandy, or rum) respectively and sweetened with maple syrup or sugar, as desired. And in Quebec, the usually pour the caribou in a Bonhomme-inspired cane.
Yeah, like the one in the picture. I think I'm not going to tell you more about Bonhomme even if you don't know because I fear that it might take too long for me to explain. But there is one fact that I found in the book that I wanted to share. Did you know that maple syrup was first discovered by the Amerindians who would cut a V-shape in the tree with their tomahawks and then insert a concave pieces of bark to collect its sap. Interesting no?
The only thing I have when reading this book is keeping up with 'who was who, again?' We have Gilles, the young handsome photographer, Jacques the dreamy Wolfman, Sebastien the brooding performer from Cirque Du Soleil, and a mysterious guy who kept on targeting Krista as his next plaything. Sometimes it was hard for me to remember which was which again because the emphasis given on each of these guys are imprinted well but you tend to forget in a while after you leave the book unattended.
But honestly, I melt when I read the last chapter. It was like, I was swept off my feet and carried away with the aurora borealis itself into a stream of romance. I know, it sounds corny. But it is. There is so much anticipation building up throughout the whole story between Krista and Jacques that when finally they were able to 'be together' is was like a massive wave of affections and warmth that wash me away, as I was reading it. My body even actually felt the tingle as I immersed myself in the final scene. Oh how romantic. It was like.... umph!
Anyway, I'm getting way ahead of myself here. But I really hope that you would have the time to pick this book up, and read the book. The suspense, the thrill, is all there. How come? Because I haven't actually told you about the huskies and the dog-sledding experience. Everything was so realistic. It is as if you are actually mushing the dogs yourself while shouting 'Allez, allez!' And those huskies~!!!!
Oh em gee, so cute!!!! So, be sure to get this book if you have some, or a lot of, time to kill. It's a good read.