Rating: 5 stars
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The Healing Power of Eggnog is the second piece of work I have read by author Jamie Fessenden and I must say that he has tumbled directly onto my auto-buy list with this delightful holiday offering. The story is artfully simple yet so multi-layered with emotional overtones it seems to capture one’s heart and mind so very thoroughly without the reader realizing. As is par for the course for this author, the characters are both realistic and intentionally flawed, yet self-aware and never pandering—never shallow or cookie cutter.
The story is essentially this. Will is returning home after several years of near non-communication with his parents. When confronted with the fact that their son was gay, Will’s parents turned to their overly zealous Pastor and church for guidance and help in dealing with the shocking revelation. The more they denied who he was and tried to “pray the gay away,” the more fractured their relationship with Will became. A few years pass and Will realizes his dream of becoming a published author in the M/M genre and also uses his novel as a sort of cathartic experience, detailing under the guise of fiction the pain he went through with his family. During this time, letters from home go largely unread and Will keeps his parents at bay in order to cope with the pain of their rejection.
However, what Will does not know is how his parents have changed, how much they have finally come to understand how their blind beliefs pushed their son away. As the years progressed, they moved away from their church to one much more tolerant and take in a young man named Ryan, whose own life actually mirrors in many ways exactly what happened with Will and his parents. When Will finally returns home for Christmas, he is met with what is akin to a substitute son who is not only loved, but fully accepted. While he grapples with the various turbulent emotions this unleashes within him, he is not prepared for his attraction to Ryan. Now Will must both confront his parents over their painful past behavior and come to terms with how he feels about Ryan.
The beauty in Jamie Fessenden’s writing really lies within the bold emotional responses his characters have to any given situation. There is no “half-way” reaction to each revelation that hits Will as he visit home for the first time in many years, rather his anger and sadness leap out of him and hit the reader squarely in the face, causing a deeply personal reaction to the character’s emotional journey. In fact, it is this involvement on such a deep level that makes his stories come alive for me. I understand what his characters are going through because they are written in such a way as to make them vital and real.
The Healing Power of Eggnog by Jamie Fessenden is a redemptive story that is oh so perfect for the holiday season. I highly recommend it to you!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.