Nathaniel inherited a run down house from his uncle and turned it into a successful B&B. He also inherited, Gabriel, the ghost that lives in the house. Nathaniel lives a fairly isolated life on the lakes of Michigan and after one relationship that ended badly, feels that love has probably passed him by.
Gabriel died almost 100 years ago and has been trying, unsuccessfully, to make someone fall in love so he can move on. He is limited to the guests at the inn and, when he’s bored, he loves to mess with Nathaniel. With the anniversary of Gabriel’s death quickly approaching at Christmas, his time to make a match is expiring, and then nothing but darkness will await him. Can love save him from an eternity of darkness and loneliness?
This book puts a different spin on Christmas romance with Gabriel being a ghost and all that. While the book is set present day, it does have a spectral quality and checking a little bit of reality at the door is in order.
The book centers around Nathaniel and is told from his point of view. He had a lonely childhood and after trying his hand at a relationship once, he seems to have given up on ever finding love. It doesn’t help that he lives in a fairly isolated location without many dating options, but is a bit stuck with thoughts of his past and what could have or should have been. He is happy for the most part, but some companionship would certainly be welcomed.
Now Gabriel has been haunting the house since he died almost 100 years ago. He made himself known to Nathaniel when he moved in and Nathaniel can only see Gabriel’s reflection in the mirrors.
The story has a slower start with setting the ground work and having a friend from Nathaniel’s past show up. While Nathaniel and Gabriel have developed a co-existing sort of friendship, he hasn’t paid much attention to Gabriel in the sense that he almost never thought about who Gabriel had been, why he was in the house, and never thought to ask him any questions. Which for me, sometime in 12 years some questions should have come up if you can communicate with a ghost. We do learn early on that Gabriel is stuck and only love will allow him to move on.
Nathaniel is practical, but not without humor as is evident when things get heated:
“I would,” I managed. “I’d let you. I’d want you to.” I took a shaky breath. “But not in the kitchen where I’m about to make food for more than ten people, because oh my God, health code violations.”
So that’s all I will tell you and I will allow you to experience the rest for yourself. There really was no way to know exactly how the story would end as it was all in the hands of the author’s imagination and once the story took off, it was an engaging ride. The intimate scenes we are privy to have an ethereal quality and a sense of not being fully grounded, which fully works for the feel and the direction of the book
I did have questions at the end and while some just can’t be answered, the epilogue did leave me with some more every day logistical questions. But if you can take a leap of faith, this book is worth a read for a sweet holiday love story mixed with a fantasy quality.