Tim hates his job at the North Pole’s Abominable Administration Department. Most elves get moved out of there fairly fast, but with no clear talent for anything else, Tim is stuck. Things are made worse by his horrible boss, Noel. For a while they got along fine, but then Noel started being mean and angry towards Tim all the time and Tim has no idea why.
When Tim stumbles across a plot by the Mouse King and his hoodlums to harm Jack Frost, he finds himself caught up in trouble along with Noel. The pair end up meeting the most famous of the Rein Dear, Rudy, and getting protection. Along with Jack, Rudy helps to figure out that Noel’s hostility is covering up his insecurities and his real feelings for Tim. But Rudy and Jack have their own secrets as well. Now Noel must be brave enough to admit his feelings for Tim, while the four attempt to stop the Mouse King before it is too late.
Mending Noel is an adorable holiday story with a interesting spin on the world of the North Pole and all its characters. The story’s biggest strength is the clever way Cochet takes the holiday tale and weaves the elements into a real world of dashing pilots named Rudy, elves who work in the cookie baking and gift wrapping departments, brave tin soldiers, and more. It is really so well done and I enjoyed uncovering all the little details and bits of humor. Sometimes there was so much it was a little hard to follow, but the cleverness here really makes the story and I found it to be so much fun.
The romance between Tim and Noel is sweet, if a little cursory. The two start out as enemies until Jack and Rudy get involved and help them figure things out. Jack seems to understand Noel’s feelings about Tim instantly and with virtually no communication, after which the conflicts quickly resolve. So there isn’t much exploration here of what was going on, nor much time to transition these guys from enemies to more, or even any real relationship development. It is a fairly short novella and things between the two of them move quickly and without much depth. However, they are sweetly adorable as befits the story and I enjoyed them. We also move fairly quickly through the suspense plot, again without a lot of development. But in a short novella, it is enough to give us some flavor for the world and its characters.
The book also develops the relationship with Rudy and Jack, and they appear to be the focus of the next book in the series. So we get a taste of them here and I am excited for their story as they seem like really interesting characters.
So this is a fun, sweet story with a lot of clever world building. It is a short, easy read and I finished it in one sitting. If you are in the mood for some holiday fun, this is a good story to choose, and I am looking forward to more in the series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.