Author: Pat Henshaw
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/01/2016
Length: Short Story (<15K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance, Winter Holiday
Christmas joy is a matter of perspective. For some, it’s the happiest time of the year. For others, not so much.
Twenty-nine-year-old Mick, the son of crack addicts, isn’t exactly a dyed-in-the-wool Scrooge. Mick’s been on his own from childhood. As a teen, he lived in a shelter where for a short time he had a boyfriend. After the boyfriend left, Mick moved to the Orpheum Theater. While squatting there and taking care of the grand old building, Mick watched others celebrate the holidays from a distance, never able to share in their joy.
Only his Technicolor dreams liven his dull, mechanical life until one day the world around him begins to change. Mick is surprised when a man named Jim buys the vintage Orpheum and plans to restore it. Something about Jim makes Mick think they’ve met before. In fact, Jim rekindles Mick’s longing for a better life and a little holiday magic for himself.
As I’ve said before I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas stories so it’s all that more surprising when I find one I truly enjoy.
I chose this one because I’ve liked Pat Henshaw’s other books. She does great with real emotion without adding too much angst. That’s one reason this story worked. Additionally the lack of over-the-top cheese that is so prevalent in Christmas stories endeared me even more.
Mick is homeless and squatting in The Orpheum Theater because of his love of movies. Things change for Mick when someone buys the theater and puts Mick in charge of it all. The slow build to the revelations (I don’t want to spoil it) worked well. I liked that no one swept in and suddenly gave Mick everything he wanted. Instead, it was all built bit by bit.
My one issue is that once the secret comes out the story moves too quickly. It goes from zero to ninety in nothing flat. However, by then I’d already fallen in love with the characters so it didn’t annoy me too much.
Henshaw is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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