A tale that was tender, sweet, and poignant, of long-time crush and doomed love, and of a man finding himself and a chance at happiness. I was touched by this heartwarming, gently moving story set in the holiday season. The author made me feel the magic and wish for a Christmas miracle.
The story opens when childhood star, teen heart throb, and now B list actor, Jason Walker retreats to his newly purchased home in Idaho to escape the tabloid photographers. He isn’t there long when he discovers something amazing. He shares his home with an enchanted snow globe and the younger man cursed to be trapped by the globe. Jason is the only one who can see and hear Ben who has been trapped for a hundred and fifty years.
Ben and Jason form an unlikely friendship. Ben’s sweet nature soothes Jason’s weary spirit and Jason is eager to do what he can to ease Ben’s imprisonment by giving him new experiences to see. More and more, the two long for the ability to touch. Jason is determined to see Ben freed from the snow globe and is frustrated as there seem to be no answers.
Meanwhile, Jason’s friend, Dylan worries about his long seclusion and his odd secretive behavior. Jason has loved Dylan for years and now that Ben is in the picture, he sees that he wants more. Dylan grows more suspicious as Jason distances himself. Photographers stalk his every move and Jason is now being offered a strong role in a new picture. And Ben seems to be giving up. Jason can only hope for a Christmas miracle to see his way clear and get the happy ending for him and Ben.
As I said, this was a sweet, touching story and set the perfect tone for a holiday reading experience. It’s a little something different and carries a slight bittersweetness to it because of Ben’s entrapment to the snow globe and the limited ability the two men have to connect and want more.
I enjoyed the friends to lovers development even as Jason has to decide if he takes the real world yet limited situation with Dylan or the chance of something more if he can find a way to free Ben. This is not an angsty love triangle though it shares traits with that.
Jason is the main character and the narrator of the story. I enjoyed the depth of his character. He has experienced a lot and is a jaded, weary man by the time he moves to his old, comfortable home to make peace with his circumstances. He both loves and hates acting, he has few friends and only a distant relationship with parents who exploited him for years. It is through Ben’s interest and Ben’s way of seeing life that he learns to cherish what he has and renew his love for his acting craft.
The story is told nearly in isolation with just Jason and Ben and occasionally Dylan and the sheriff around. I liked how the author set a nice tone that kept it interesting and pacing forward. These other characters around Jason are interesting and likeable, but not drawn with as much depth save Ben.
Ben’s past is known and a bit about his present, but he is still a bit of an enigma. However, it worked. The reader learns more about Ben right alongside Jason. Ben seems too good to be true, but then the author reveals his vulnerabilities and his despondence. Ben grows fatalistic as he comes to love Jason. I wanted him to be freed from the snow globe so badly. I wanted these two guys to have a real chance. They were very good for each other.
And by the way, I’ve used words like ‘sweet’ and ‘heartwarming’ and the story is that, but with a little surprising twist and some ingenuity, Jason and Ben figure out how to get up some steamy passion, too. Whew! The guys helped Ben scratch a hundred and fifty year old itch. Loved it!
All in all, I was enchanted with this magical Christmas story. I got teary-eyed and swoony. I would love to see a story about Dylan now. I can heartily recommend this one to those who enjoy spicy-sweet m/m contemporary romance with a dash of magic.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #393 LGBT
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