The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman

The Secret of Snow

Posted on December 27, 2021 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 5 Comments

Starting over is never easy, especially when you spend most of your life running from your past. A situation, fifty-year-old Sonny Dunes of The Secret of Snow will discover after her replacement by an Artificial Intelligent meteorologist. An embarrassing meltdown on national television saw her career hitting rock bottom.  The only station willing to offer Sonny a job was in her hometown, Traverse City, Michigan. The very place she dreaded returning to. Tragic family events led to her leaving home and abandoning all she held dear in her quaint little hometown.


The Secret of Snow by Viola ShipmanTitle: The Secret of Snow
Author(s): Viola Shipman
Published by Graydon House on October 26, 2021
Pages: 320
Genre(s): Women's Fiction
Source: Netgalley
Format: eArc
Purchase: Amazon|Audible|
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

As comforting and familiar as a favorite sweater, Viola Shipman's first holiday novel is a promise of heartfelt family traditions, humorously real experience, and the enduring power of love and friendship.
Sonny Dunes, a SoCal meteorologist who knows only sunshine and seventy-two-degree days, is being replaced by an AI meteorologist, which the youthful station manager reasons "will never age, gain weight or renegotiate its contract." The only station willing to give the fifty-year-old another shot is one in a famously nontropical place—her northern Michigan hometown.
Unearthing her carefully laid California roots, Sonny returns home and reacclimates to the painfully long, dark winters dominated by a Michigan phenomenon known as lake-effect snow. But beyond the complete physical shock to her system, she's also forced to confront her past: her new boss, a former journalism classmate and mortal frenemy; more keenly, the death of a younger sister who loved the snow; and the mother who caused Sonny to leave.
To distract herself from the unwelcome memories, Sonny decides to throw herself headfirst into all things winter to woo viewers and reclaim her success. From sledding and ice fishing to skiing and winter festivals, the merrymaking culminates with the town’s famed Winter Ice Sculpture Contest. Running the events is a widowed father and chamber of commerce director, whose genuine love of Michigan, winter and Sonny just might thaw her heart and restart her life in a way she never could have predicted.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


The Secret of Snow introduces Sonny  a talented meteorologist, who also had a talent for running away. The moment things get rough, Sonny runs. However, in running, she burnt several bridges. This adversely affected her ability to form lasting relationships. Returning home meant interacting with persons whom she treated poorly in the past and facing painful memories.

Initially, Sonny rubbed me the wrong way with her woe is me attitude.  It is never easy losing all you have worked so hard for.  However,  her actions in the aftermath were that of a spoilt brat instead of a mature fifty-year-old. Then, as the story progressed, I saw another side to her. A side which made me sympathetic to her position.  

Sonny grieves not only the loss of her job but also that of her younger sister and her dad. She has gone through the stages except for the final stage, acceptance. She struggles with acceptance, especially with the loss of her sister. Guilt associated with the loss of her sits heavily on her shoulders. Her journey of self-discovery, healing, forgiveness, renewal of old relationships and the formation of new ones was heartbreaking, heartwarming and fun. 

The Secret of Snow had its share of drama with Sonny, dealing with opposition to her employment as the chief meteorologist. Not everyone welcomed her, and they made their displeasure known in the many attempts to sabotage her. Accompanying the drama was humour and a dash of romance.

The Secret of Snow provided a behind-the-scenes look of the work involved in reporting on the weather. If you have never experienced a winter weather in Michigan, The Secret of Snow will have you thirsting for such an experience. 

I enjoyed watching Sonny come alive in this tale, letting go of the pain of her past and embracing all life offers. Overall, The Secret of Snow provided a heartwarming story of family, friendships and love. It shows that starting over may be frustrating, but it opens the door for bigger and better things.

Story Evaluation
World Building
Writing Style
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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About Viola Shipman

Viola Shipman is the pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. Rouse is the author of The Summer Cottage, as well as The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest which have been translated into more than a dozen languages and become international bestsellers. He lives in Saugatuck, Michigan and Palm Springs, California, and has written for People, Coastal Living, Good Housekeeping, and Taste of Home, along with other publications, and is a contributor to All Things Considered.

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