Adam finds the holiday season stressful at the best of times; as a Jewish man with Christmas celebrations everywhere, Adam often feels unseen during this time of year. It is made worse by the fact he has a forced vacation from his job, leaving him out of sorts and with time to fill, something that sends his anxiety spiking. And after breaking up with his boyfriend, Adam doesn’t even have a Daddy to rely on to help him through things. Adam does find himself interested in his friend Tate, back in town after some time away. However, Adam is so tongue-tied when he tries to flirt that he is pretty sure he has put Tate off completely.
When Adam’s frustration and anxiety boil over, he heads to his favorite club in hopes of finding a Daddy to play with for the night. But when he breaks down in the lobby, Tate is there to help him work through it and listen to all his concerns. To Adam’s surprise, Tate offers to be Adam’s Daddy for Hanukkah, to bring Adam home with him and spend the eight nights together.
Tate has long been drawn to Adam, and he had hoped Adam would be interested when Tate returned to town. Tate misread Adam’s anxiety as disinterest, so he is thrilled to get a chance to spend some time with him now. Adam is just the kind of boy that Tate wants, someone who is sweet and loving, just a bit bratty, and really needs Tate to help him manage his anxiety. Adam also introduces Tate to his celebration of Hanukkah and gives Tate an window into Judaism and Adam’s celebrations. Things seem to be going perfectly for the men, and they are finding themselves a great fit. But with Hanukkah coming to the end, now they need to decide if their relationship is over, or if things are just beginning.
His for Hanukkah is the first book in Reese Morrison’s new Traditions series, which looks like it will follow a variety of Jewish holidays, and I am super excited. Every year, I try to find some new books to read for Hanukkah, as they tend to be few and far between (and you can find a list of what we’ve reviewed here). And I am even more excited to see that Morrison will be focusing books on other Jewish holidays as well, as that is almost impossible to find (check out the Tarnished Souls series for one example). So I snapped this one up right away, and it was a great introduction for me to Morrison’s writing. The author develops a sweet and sexy story that has a lot of nuance and depth as it explores a variety of areas.
This story has a really nice Daddy/boy dynamic, as we see from the start how much Adam needs someone in his life to give him support and help him manage his anxiety. Adam tends to stress when he doesn’t know the upcoming schedule or when he has aimless time to fill. Having Tate provide structure to his day while on vacation really helps Adam to feel less anxiety. I appreciate that Morrison shows a development of the connection between the men, where Adam learns to better communicate his needs and Tate learns to better figure out what Adam needs from him. It is not a magic fix where Tate walks in knowing all the answers. I did find things move quickly at the start, with the men having basically one conversation/scene when Adam breaks down and moving immediately to Adam moving in with Tate for the week. But I did feel like the progression from there felt realistic, and the men are really sweet together.
While Tate is a strong and confident Daddy, he does have occasional flares of self doubt about people’s responses to him being transgender. Tate and Adam first knew each other when Tate identified as a lesbian and, while most of Tate is confident in Adam’s acceptance, at times he does have concerns. I thought it was a nice balance here to show some vulnerability from Tate as well. The men are sexy together and they have a fun kink dynamic I enjoyed.
Adam’s religion is given nice focus in the story, which I appreciated. There is more than a token nod to Hanukkah here, with details not just about the holiday, but about the role of religion in Adam’s life. Morrison notes at the end that they are also Jewish, and this adds some depth to this aspect of the story. I have shared many of Adam’s feelings about being Jewish in the midst of an overwhelming Christmas season, particularly when my kids were young and symbols of a holiday we didn’t celebrate were everywhere we turned. I think I have more acceptance of the role of tradition versus historical accuracy than Adam expresses, but I still appreciated even seeing this issue brought up in a romance.
Overall, I found this to be a nice holiday story, as well as an overall enjoyable book. I am really looking forward to seeing what the series brings in the future.