Gael has been engaged to his best friend for years and it is expected by both families that they will marry. But on the day of the wedding, Gael recognizes that he can’t get married and flees on horseback into the cold. Gael has lived a privileged and sheltered life and winds up lost and injured and retreats to a cave. He’s scared and panicked, but mountain nymph, Orteo, comes to his rescue.
Orteo has been wandering for years. After his older sister died when Orteo was a teen, his grief was deep and he left the village and has deep regret over not caring for his young nephews. Orteo wants to immediately care for Gael as soon as he sees him, but Gael is so naïve he doesn’t even realize that Orteo is attracted to him. Both men will have to heal their wounds and make peace with their lives to be able to move forward together.
A Winter Awakening continues the Nymph Solstice Romance series. This book connects back to A Winter Crush, as Ori from that story is Orteo’s nephew. There are a few other connections from the series as well, and I appreciated having started at the beginning. While it is still winter solstice in the village, this book focuses less on the holiday and more on the lives and relationships between the men.
This story again features a mountain nymph and a human falling for each other and I found this book felt repetitive of what came before it. All humans from the city are portrayed as pampered and privileged and Gael is no exception. He is so naïve and has had everything done for him. He has had staff dress him all of his life and he has no idea how to do even the most basic tasks, such as opening a window. He came across as so sheltered and childlike, it was a bit off-putting in a romantic relationship.
Orteo has been alone for a long time and he never addressed the loss of his sister and everything he knew. He thinks he’s a terrible person for not being able to take care of his nephews when he was a teenager. It’s been a long time since he’s been interested in anyone and, when he sees Gael, Orteo wants things he hasn’t let himself think about in a long time. Besides Gael being a virgin, he has never been interested in anyone sexually before and, at first, he isn’t sure how to proceed. He just knows that he feels safe with Orteo and then he starts to want things he never knew were possible.
There is closure with Gael and his jilted fiancée, but I’ve seen similar plots before and it felt a little contrived. Also, Orteo had been carrying around a mountain of guilt and it had the feeling of just being whisked away. While this wasn’t my favorite in the series, I look forward to returning again to this snowy village where life is quiet and there is love to be found.