Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5:
There’s not enough Yuletide spirit in the world to fix this holiday disaster…
Eben Sypeman’s world is falling apart. It’s two days before Yule and his business partner is dead, leaving behind empty accounts and looming bankruptcy. And if that isn’t bad enough, his patron goddess is irritated with him. It seems she’s tired of his tendency to mince words and avoid conflict. She’s insisting—quite forcefully—that he start being totally honest with everyone, including himself. Divinely enforced honesty couldn’t have come at a less opportune time, especially when his clerk’s tall, dark and distractingly handsome son enters the picture.
The last thing on Tim Pratchett’s mind is romance. All the former soldier wants is to fill in for his sick father at work and recover from his war wounds in peace. But there’s something about the grumpy Eben that confounds and entices him in equal measure. Their timing couldn’t be worse. They’re complete opposites. And yet…none of that matters when he’s with Eben.
But if Eben and Tim have any hope of finding their very own happily ever after, they’ll have to survive a dickens of a truth curse and the machinations of a trickster goddess—all while searching for enough yuletide treasure to save them all.
This is the third installment in the Goddess Blessed series and is an awesome holiday themed book with a voyeuristic Goddess thrown in for good measure! While the book has some similiarities to A Christmas Carol, Eben is not a Scrooge – he’s at his wit’s end because his now-deceased business Marney had been embezzling from the office. There’s no money to pay the bills, including the salary of his clerk, Bob Pratchet. Eben has been going crazy trying to figure out what Marney did with the money. When Bob becomes ill, Eben sends him home only to have Bob’s son, Timothy, show up to take his place. Eben is attracted to Timothy, a former soldier injured in the war, but nothing can come of it – Eben has to find that money!
Eben’s patron Goddess, Althyone, is pretty ticked that she put her mark on Eben while he was still in the womb and yet he has never shown what he’s really made of. “You were so tiny, then, a delicate little spark, so rich with potential.” Eben hasn’t done what is best for himself is in so long. “You’ve bored me, Eben. I’d hoped for those great things from you and you’ve disappointed me at every turn. Subordinating yourself to that sour little thief Marney, allowing your wretched realtives to use us, shying away from anything that could bring you joy. But no more.” To “help” him along his way she puts a not-curse on him – he is unable to lie. So rather than make excuses for himself, he is brutally honest and the best kind of snarky. . The scene with the charity collectors is wonderful. A nod to Christmas Carol, as well as Frank, Eben’s nephew, except here Frank is a waste of space who is always mooching off his uncle. “What a pampered, unbearable imbecile Frank was.”
Timothy is there for Eben and wants to help him figure out what is happening with the money. The two become close as they try to solve the mystery and the way too nosy Althyone just make me laugh. I loved getting to see Eben make baby steps towards happiness. “He was lonely, that was the plain truth of it, and Timothy had a warmth, a genuineness, that Eben so rarely found in others. And he seemed to have seen something in Eben that he liked in his turn, an even greater rarity.” He has to go through the aggravation of Althyone, of course, but it’s all worth it.
This is a wonderful series and definitely an awesome installment with a creative twist on Scrooge.
The cover, showing Eben against a background of the city, is simple but works.