A Wish for Winter

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Viola Shipman 2022

Viola Shipman* is the pen name of Wade Rouse, the author of the memoir Magic Season: A Son’s Story. This reviewer is a sucker for any fiction that takes place in Michigan, and A Wish for Winter is set in Petoskey, right around the tip of your pinky if you use your hand as a map of the mitten. The characters are endearing and kind, the setting is familiar and beautiful, and the story is charming. Rouse moves skillfully between present day and the past, not an easy feat.

This would make a great Hallmark Christmas movie, and given the upward trajectory of the Viola Shipman brand on a regional and national level – and also given the quality of writing – we shouldn’t be surprised when it happens.

Why only 4 stars (which is still actually very good)? No spoilers, but I figured out the ending too early, and that generally costs a star with me. Regardless, I didn’t want to say goodby to these characters; I’d love to read a sequel. I’d especially like to know what happened in one character’s life that appeared to change her so much. There are many more Viola Shipman novels, many or most of which take place in Michigan; it behooves you to check them out.

*I met the author and his husband Gary Edwards, who is also Mr. Rouse’s marketing and events manager, at a book signing in Saugatuck, MI just before Christmas. Both men are genuinely kind and – well, genuine. Viola Shipman is Wade Rouse’s late grandmother’s name; he uses it to honor her.