Aaron is walking home on Halloween night, a little bit drunk and a lot hurting, when he sees a man who is, apparently, about to jump off a bridge. Calling to the man, he introduces himself as Clarence, and thinks of the other man as George. A late night dinner translates into a night in Aaron’s bed. But Aaron is still grieving, and he wakes up on the couch to a note…which he promptly spills beer on and therefore has no idea who the man is or if they’ll see each other again.
When Thanksgiving rolls around and Aaron runs into George in a store, it’s fate. This time they exchange real names, and Aaron hesitantly accepts Dylan’s offer to accompany him to Thanksgiving dinner. The two met get to know each other better and decide to work on a friendship, as both men have had a rough year and are still healing. Their connection is strong, despite their physical distance over the next month, and when Christmas comes, they are reunited. Things don’t quite go according to plan and some hard truths come to light. Now the question is, are both Aaron and Dylan willing and ready to work through the obstacles to find their happily ever after?
So I picked this one up because the premise really intrigued. Two men meet and experience three major holidays together. I definitely wanted to see how this worked, and I was glad to say that it did. I was drawn into the story from the very beginning and I couldn’t wait to see how it all played out.
Okay, so right off the bat I’m going to put it out there that there are a couple of heavy themes in this story. I say this for any of you who need to be careful of triggers. There is talk about abuse (emotional and mental) as well as suicide. Not to mention loss of a loved one. And while we’re talking about these points, I have to admit that this is the part that didn’t work as well for me in this shorter story. Not because they weren’t valid or fitting for the characters. They certainly were. And I feel they were handled with sensitivity. The problem for me was that they were underdeveloped, so it felt almost glossed over when reading it. I wanted to see it explored more so it didn’t feel as much like it wasn’t important.
But despite that issue, I really enjoyed this story. The characters were engaging and really drew me in. Aaron is the narrator here, and this is mostly his story. He’s hurting and trying to heal, but it’s not an easy thing. And he’s not sure if he really wants to. I loved the internal conflict here with him about it, and I thought he made real and believable progress as the months wore on. Dylan has his own baggage, and while I would have liked to see this explored a bit more, I adore this character so much. Despite what he’s been through, he’s not afraid to try again. Cautious, yes, but not afraid. And I loved that about him.
I really liked the connection between the MCs as well. I thought the author did an outstanding job of making the reader see and feel it. So the fact that this story essentially takes place in a few days spread out over months isn’t a detriment. It works, and I was rooting for Aaron and Dylan the entire time.
So yeah, I really enjoyed this shorter novella. While I had a few issues, the overall story was well written and I was hook from the start. If you’re looking for a twist on the holiday theme, and two characters who will capture your heart, this story is definitely one you should consider.