I can always count on Amy Lane to provide a read with fresh, interesting characters and a homey setting. This adorable novella adds a touch of whimsical sweetness to the holidays.
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 4.25 of 5 Stars
Adam Macias has been thrown a few curve balls in his life, but losing his VA grant because his car broke down and he missed a class was the one that struck him out. One relative away from homelessness, he’s taking the bus to Sacramento, where his cousin has offered a house-sitting job and a new start. He has one goal, and that’s to get his life back on track. Friends, pets, lovers? Need not apply.
Finn Stewart takes one look at Adam as he’s applying to Candy Heaven and decides he’s much too fascinating to leave alone. Finn is bright and shiny—and has never been hurt. Adam is wary of his attention from the very beginning—Finn is dangerous to every sort of peace Adam is forging, and Adam may just be too damaged to let him in at all.
But Finn is tenacious, and Adam’s new boss, Darrin, doesn’t take bullshit for an answer. Adam is going to have to ask himself which is harder—letting Finn in or living without him? With the holidays approaching it seems like an easy question, but Adam knows from experience that life is seldom simple, and the world
Adam Macias has had a tough life, and when he takes another hard knock right before Thanksgiving, he finds it difficult to get into the holiday spirit. Taking a job at Candy Heaven in Old Sacramento while he house-sits for his cousin seems like a decent way to earn enough money to put some food on the pantry shelves and to help him get back on his feet. He doesn’t count on the bouncy Finn Stewart, who works at his family’s sandwich shop a few doors down, nor his energetic attentions. He’s not too thrilled about how they force him to look at himself and remember that he doesn’t deserve this kind of happiness in his life. Or does he?
A cast of colorful candy store workers in Old Sacramento and a touch of whimsy and wisdom from its clairvoyant owner set the tone for this touching, light-hearted holiday tale from Amy Lane. I always enjoy reading her stories, particularly because they tend to be set in the San Joaquin Valley, where I grew up. She adds beautiful detail to the chilly atmosphere in Candy Man, as there is nothing like the otherworldly, hushed presence of the tule fog that creeps in and envelops Valley towns in winter. Her descriptions of the area, the river, and the quaintness of Old Sac bring the reader into the warm embrace of the holiday spirit that settles in and takes hold like the dense mist pressing against the windows from the outside.
With a minimal amount of angst but under the influence of what feels like a hefty dose of “I don’t deserve to be happy” pills, Adam plods through the story trying to start anew in a life that didn’t quite turn out the way he planned. We get snippets of his childhood and past relationships through memories, his sketchbook, and brief texts with his cousin, which explain quite a bit about his low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness. Enter Finn, with his springy attitude and Tigger-like compulsion to spread happiness and cheer, and the attraction of two opposites is born. These two play off of each other well, and the slow build and relationship development is done well, despite the story length.
Amy Lane excels at weaving lively secondary characters and thoughtful little truisms into her stories, and Candy Man has its fair share of both. The vibrant characters she draws here are as vivid as the colors of the delectable treats that adorn the shop. Family members, neurotic pets, and friends all have vital roles in the development of Adam and Finn’s story and provide ample opportunity for the reader to laugh out loud with their blunt and humorous antics and dialogue. In the more poignant moments, there are “Amy-isms” that also melt the heart. As the characters in Candy Man learn their own life lessons about love, forgiveness, and overcoming past hurts, we are graced with lovely nuggets that gently remind us of the important things in life. Though there are many I could list, two stood out as particularly important to remember in our own lives during the holidays and throughout the year, that “some of the best stuff doesn’t come in a box,” and “the best relationships are made of quiet times.”
I highly recommend picking up this sweet novella and savoring the tasty bits of love and life inside. It’s the perfect opportunity to snuggle up with a hot cuppa and enjoy a kind of holiday cheer that is classic Amy Lane.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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