“The past cannot be changed, and we carry our choices with us, forward, into the unknown. We can only move on.” ― Libba Bray
Kay Fraser combines history and the holidays, in Coming Home, the story of two boys who meet in decidedly touchy circumstances, and through the kindness and persuasive skills of young Alexander Harrington, the orphaned Christopher “Kit” Whyte and his sister Lottie, find a place of service amongst Lord Langholm’s staff.
While this book is not particularly long, it is a particularly touching and satisfying read, even as a significant passage of years happens off screen, keeping the pacing brisk and bypassing the time Alex spent fighting in the Crimean War to focus on its aftermath. The only downfall of this fast forward is that there wasn’t much time to develop a deeply explored relationship history for Alex and Kit, one that might have better supported Kit’s feelings for Alex upon his very unexpected return, but what does work is that Alex does not return the same man he was when he left, so this is a starting over, Alex as the rightful Lord Langholm and Kit as his valet, the man who loves Alex, and the one who will help him heal the emotional scars the war left behind.
The historical setting is the perfect backdrop for this story of unrequited love, the denial of feelings and the fear of giving in to them. Being a servant and now Alex’s valet doesn’t leave Kit with many other options in life, until his father, a member of the peerage who’d abandoned his mother, offers both Kit and Lottie the opportunity to leave their servant duties for a comfortable life as the Duke’s well-kept secret. It’s when Kit finally has a choice to remain in the service of a man who can’t love him, or to leave Alex for good, that Alex realizes exactly what Kit means to him.
Kay Fraser has written a nicely heartwarming Christmas story in which the law of the time and the spoils of war are the villains these two men must fight and overcome in order to realize their happy ending.