“Of course, that’s how life is. A turn of events may seem very small at the time it’s happening, but you never really know, do you? How can you?” ― Tom Xavier
Blurb: In a snowy small town in England just before Christmas, handyman Christian thinks the world has ended — his parents are still getting used to his being gay and have disinvited him to their Christmas. Former waiter David has just been fired and is still getting used to the fact that his useless, cheating, money-grabbing, waste-of-space boyfriend has just dumped him. Their mutual friend Cathy steps in and invites the two strangers to a non-family Christmas at the flat she shares with Tony.
With Cathy’s organizational skills and enthusiasm, these four spend Christmas together, making the best of it and getting to know each other. A spark of attraction clearly brings David and Christian closer, and spending the festive season together may be just what these two refugees need to calm their troubled souls.
But the past still haunts them both and threatens to be their undoing. Is love enough to overcome the burdens they bear? Can they find a happy Christmas together after all?
Review: Oh, how I adore Christmas stories! And this one was no different. British author Liam Livings has again delivered a lovely tale from the heart of the motherland and done so with his usual gay-centric panache, and it was impossible not to love every second. This is what I imagine the Christmas holidays on the island of lost toys might look like; a mishmash of eccentric characters all a little down-and-out, coming together to make the holidays the best it can be. and it working out wonderfully. I enjoyed every word of it.
David and Tony lead the way as the story opens, adding insult to injury as David is fired from his waiting job on the heels of a nasty break-up with his waster boyfriend. Tony is all comedy and snark and leads his friend through the worst of it and straight to the door of his flat, where housemate Cathy has taken in her own stray for the holidays in the form of the disowned Christian. Cue the romance.
The characters were delightful, each different but all sheltered under the umbrella of disappointing Christmases past. This story was very much an action piece. It described the events of the days in great detail, with little by way of hyper-emotional prose or conflict from anywhere but the lives they left at the door when entering. In this sanctuary, David finds Christian, and a new period of both their lives begins, slowly at first, but then rippling with the magic of the holidays.
The blurb is a little misleading. The final paragraph threatens the reader with Bill Murray-esque drama that never arrives, but what does happen in the humble little flat is something a lot more warming. The characters find friends, happiness, and a home filled with food and drink and people to make the holidays gay. Liam Livings has, for me, really captured the essence of a great Christmas in this short novella, and I found myself riding shotgun with David and the gang as the troubles of the year faded away into a promise of a fantastic New Year to come.
Well written, beautifully paced and delightfully descriptive, this story is one to add to the eBook shelves to be read by a roaring fire on Christmas eve. With a shimmery four stars, I recommend this for every Christmas junkie out there in the hopes that your Christmas turns out as well as David, Tony, Cathy and Christian’s did.
Happy holidays one and all.