Author: Ariel Tachna
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars
Nikhilesh (Nik) Sharma hasn’t been home to Alappuzha, India, since he came out to his family ten years ago. Now that his relationship with them is less strained, he’s bringing his boyfriend Trent along to celebrate the winter holidays. As excited as he is to see everyone again, he worries the foreign culture, religious differences, and disapproval might shock Trent. At the same time, Trent worries Nik’s big, close-knit family won’t accept an American—much less a man—as Nik’s partner and that his presence will impede the otherwise happy reunion. Whether the trip leads to misunderstandings that will drive them apart or to a new understanding that will draw them closer than ever, it’s sure to be an experience they’ll never forget.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package “Celebrate!”.
This was a lovely short story about the value that family bonds and traditions can have and the importance of acceptance and embracing differences.
Nik has brought his boyfriend Trent to India to meet his family and share with him the customs and traditions of the winter holidays. The characters are fairly well developed, considering the length of the story and the fact that they are already in an established, long-term relationship. Trent has concerns regarding Nik’s connection to his family and feels that he might be a hindrance during the reunion. He struggles with the overwhelming differences in the cultures and constantly frets about not being accepted by Nik’s relatives. Though these are valid and completely understandable issues, I felt Trent was a bit over-dramatic in his reactions at times. Nik basks in the warmth of celebrating and re-connecting with his family. Despite the fact that he has come out to his family and has brought Trent home as his boyfriend, he is still worried that he will feel pressure to meet expectations outside the realities of his sexual orientation. The two men struggle over their hurdles as they celebrate the beauty of the holiday known as Chirappu.
I loved the multi-cultural aspects of this story, and the author’s love for the Indian culture shines through here. There are certainly differences, and the author does not shy away from those surrounding the acceptance of homosexuality. I was intrigued by the various social gatherings and traditions of Chirappu and wished for more vivid and thorough details. One thing that was particularly appealing was the emphasis on the multi-cultural inclusiveness of the holiday, as all religions are accepted and embraced during the celebration.
Overall, this was a sweet romance and a charming glimpse of the Indian culture. I enjoyed Nik and Trent’s visit, their relationship, and the interactions they had with various members of Nik’s family. I recommend it not only as a winter holiday read, but as a delightful pick me up for any time of the year.
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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