Winter Falls, by Nicole Maggi, tells the story of Alessia Jacobs, a sixteen-year-old girl living in a small town in Maine. Living with her protective, Italian mother on a farm, Alessia dreams of getting out of her small town and seeing the world. However, things change after a new family moves into her town, and Alessia learns that she is apart of the Benandanti. In other words, she has the ability to separate her soul from her body and into a falcon. Alessia then must struggle between balancing school, mastering her new powers, and dealing with her growing attraction to the new family’s son, Jonah. And what will happen when these aspects of her life overlap?
I overall enjoyed Winter Falls. It was well-written, engaging, and with an intriguing premise, I couldn’t put it down. I could relate to the main character, Alessia, and liked her overall as a character. Sure, she made some brash decisions, but I rooted for her throughout the book. Additionally, Alessia and her best friend, Jenny, were hilarious. I loved their interactions and banter. Jonah was also quite a good love interest. Jonah seems attractive, sweet, and has just the right amount of mystery, I enjoyed watching his and Alessia’s relationship develop. However, their relationship was one of the things I had a problem with in the book. He began to consume a lot of her time, and I would have liked more on Alessia’s friendships and the Benandanti instead.
In that same vein, my main issue with this book was that I wanted more on the Benandanti and some of the characters. The Benandanti and its workings are still pretty unknown to Alessia by the end of Winter Falls, and a good portion of Alessia’s training wasn’t shown in the book. However, as this is going to be a trilogy, I hope that the Benandanti’s secrets will be revealed as the series continues. In terms of characters, I would have also liked more information on Alessia’s father and on Jonah’s twin sister. However, like the Benandanti, I bet there will be more on them later in the series. The ending was also somewhat abrupt, but again, it’s the first book. The plot twist at the end just makes me want to read on.
In summary, Winter Falls is a solid beginning to the Twin Willows trilogy, introducing an intriguing plot and relatable characters. I genuinely liked Alessia, Jenny, and Jonah. Also, the fact that the Benandanti was actually a real organization adds even more awesomeness to the book. I would recommend Winter Falls to any paranormal fan, and those who enjoy a good romance.