Colton has had a really rough year. His boyfriend left him for being boring, and while he was recovering at his best friend’s house, his grandmother died. Now, with Christmas approaching, Colton’s feeling her loss especially. He’s ready for a new start, though, so he moves into the house she left him and begins to make a new life. When Colton sees a sexy lumberjack, he’s surprised that he’s attracted to the man. He didn’t think he was in any place to begin something new.
The lumberjack works at the café and also makes snow globes on the side. His name is Winter and Colton finds an easy relationship with him. The two men hit it off almost right away, and Colton starts opening up about his life. Winter is only in town for a little while though, helping his aunt and uncle at their café, and soon he’ll leave Canada and head home to England. But that doesn’t stop the two men from growing closer.
By the time Christmas rolls around, Colton and Winter are in love, though they aren’t sure how they are going to make a relationship last with an ocean between them. When Colton gets a Christmas miracle from his deceased grandmother, he’s ready to dive in completely and do whatever it takes. Fortunately, Winter is ready too. They’ve found their HEA, and they aren’t letting one another go.
The premise of this story is super cute, and I was quick to snap it up and take a chance on a new-to-me author. Unfortunately, this book did not work for me on just about every level. I’m sad to say it, because this story had such promise, and Christmas romances are my crack. But the writing and characterizations fell short and I just couldn’t enjoy it the way I wanted to.
First off, I liked both the MCs. They were two dimensional and not fully realized, but they were sweet guys who both deserved a happily ever after. Colton is a greeting card writer, and he’s had a bad year. But underneath it all, he has hope, he just has to find it again. Winter is the perfect beta hero, caring and sweet, understanding and patient. Together these guys should have lit up the page and pushed all my buttons. Sadly, the lack of depth really worked against them. To me, they felt like surface characters without anything to really ground them, and what should have been electric chemistry didn’t even sizzle.
My biggest problem with this story was in the telling of it. And I do mean telling. The author relies heavily on exposition, and no showing whatsoever. I felt like I was reading a laundry list of actions, instead of experiencing them along with the characters. The dialogue felt wooden at times, but what was worse for me was that most of it seemed to come out of nowhere. For example, Colton says he felt like he could trust Winter and goes into the explanation of what he’s been through…but I had no idea why he trusted Winter after such a brief meeting. There was nothing for me to relate to, no feeling or action that I experienced reading that led me to believe that trust. This is just one example, but this happens again and again throughout the book.
There are also time jumps with no connection and no follow through that ties everything together. The writing was choppy and lacked flow. It made for a trying read, because everything happened too fast and without much substance to back it up. The pacing was poor, either too slow or much too quick, and that made it difficult to settle in and enjoy. And without giving away the big Christmas miracle for Colton, I will say it was cliched and not very well done. I saw it coming a mile away and was disappointed with the banality of it.
So this book didn’t work for me, and while there was potential, it fell woefully short. If you’re a fan of this author, you may want to give it a try. But for me, I’m going to have to say give this one a pass, even if you’re a hardcore Christmas story lover like me.