A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review Day 25: Don’t Let the Light Go Out (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by L.A. Merrill


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

dont-let-the-light-go-outRay Fine would like to forget Hanukkah even exists. The holiday holds too many sad memories for the young widower. When he’s paired with new convert Josiah Wilson in a year-long welcoming program at his synagogue, he doesn’t know how he’ll get through eight days of celebration, let alone twelve months of guidance.

Josiah has enough on his plate—school, conversion, the holiday concert season—without becoming someone’s shoulder to cry on. But when he discovers there’s more to his new synagogue buddy’s sadness than a case of the “Hanukkah Blues,” he sets out to show Ray how much there is to live for.

The first blizzard of the season has other plans, though, and Hanukkah might be a lost cause if Ray and Josiah can’t plow through the snow—and their differences. Determined not to lose Ray to his own darkness, Josiah plans to teach him a lesson about the real Miracle of Light—and love.

I loved this story by L.A. Merrill.  A man mourning the death of his husband has lost all hope and withdrawn from life.  Now as the beginning of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, one his husband enjoyed deeply, the pain is felt all the more grievously. Ray Fine’s not just withdrawn, he’s depressed and barely surviving from day to day.  Merrill does  an excellent job of letting us into what’s left of Fine’s life.  We see the dust that spread over his furniture, the two room’s he’s withdrawn into, and the menorah collection of his husband’s that he’s grown resentful of to the point of hate.  Its wonderful writing, it sets the man, the emotion and the theme for the story.

Josiah Wilson is a welcome and warm presence when he appears. Josiah is a convert to  Judaism, he’s has his own holiday schedule and he’s trying to understand and fit into a new congregation. Then he meets Ray and sees Ray floundering just as he’s been assigned to Ray as a ‘synagogue buddy’ by their Rabbi.  Josiah is a wonderful character.  He’s young, compassionate but not a doormat.  He’ll take only so much rejection before he too will give up.

Merrill understands that grief is something that has to be worked through.  Merrill goes through the stages realistically.  There’s no magic button here.  But all the wondlerful touches and great characters flow together, within the framework of the Jewish religion and the celebration of Hanukkah to bring readers a story of joy, recovery, hope and love.

Its doesn’t matter what religion or holiday you celebrate for you to recognize the wonders and joys that await you in this one.  I recommend it to you all.

I wish in this case that another cover would have been chosen other than the series cover by Paul Richmond.

Sales Links




Book Details:

ebook, 34 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635331870 (ISBN13: 9781635331875)
Edition Language English





Cover art by Paul Richmond

Sales Links


Book Details:

ebook, 34 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331870 (ISBN13: 9781635331875)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

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