Author: Dianne Hartsock
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/18/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Fantasy, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Winter Holiday
Betrayed by a lover, Jamie rents an isolated cabin on Lake Huron, wanting only to be left alone. Instead, he is pulled from his solitary existence as an artist and tumbles headlong into the legend of Saint Nicolas.
As a young man, Nicolas accidentally killed a man intent on murdering three children, only to have the man’s malicious spirit rise up against him. Fleeing through the centuries from the Krampus, the evil troll-like creature that dogs his steps, Nico finds refuge with the young artist who takes him into his home and bed. But Jamie has questions. Who is Nicolas, and why does the Krampus want to destroy him?
When the Krampus begins to torment and torture anyone Nico comes in contact with to punish him, Jamie’s life is put in danger. And Jamie isn’t sure whether he can help Nico defeat his nemesis or if he’s merely a pawn in the Krampus’s game.
Before reading Nicolas by Dianne Hartsock, I was not familiar with the mythology surrounding the Krampus and its connection to the Siant Nicolas of lore. After the first couple of chapters, however, I decided to do some (admittedly cursory) research on the mythological creature. He is the evil to Saint Nicolas’ good. He punishes naughty children, especially around Christmas time. He is tied to Saint Nicolas in some nebulous way (depending on which version of the myth you read).
Hartsock’s take on the Saint Nicolas/Krampus was both intriguing and sweet. It isn’t perfect as I have a hard time seeing this tormentor of children as the sexualized being he is portrayed as in this story. However, that may just be my hangup.
Nico and Jamie are the heroes of the tale. They work together to rid the world of this misery once and for all. Along the way, they become so much more than the strangers that they start the story as. I am not sure when they went from strangers to friends to lovers. It was almost insta-love on that front. However, once they were in, they were all in. Even if it took Nico a little time to catch up to Jamie’s level of commitment.
There were a few scenes that left me with questions. Scenes that felt like there was more to the story that just didn’t make the page. However, far more of the story was engaging, compelling, and sensual.
I enjoyed Hartsock’s version of this legend. It was a nice change from all the sweetness and light I have been reading in Christmas stories lately.
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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