Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Will a decade-old family feud and long held secrets stand in the way of love?
Auden Whipple is searching for a bit of peace and quiet from his loud family when he stumbles across the neighbor, Porter Eldin. Porter is scorching hot on a freezing Christmas Day, and nothing like Auden expected. A moment shared by the creek begins a relationship that surprises them both.
As the Christmases pass, Auden and Porter’s relationship deepens. But the obstacle of the unresolved conflict between the Whipples and the Eldins makes Auden worried. Worried to tell his family of his new-found love, worried that the conflict will come between them.
Can two men truly in love help mend fences that have been broken for too long? Can the holiday spirit help Auden and Porter find their happily ever after?
This is the very cute holiday story of Auden Whipple, who has a family who may be loud and chaotic but love him unconditionally and are supportive of each other. This family is amazing but sometimes the loud gets to Auden and he goes in search of quiet. When a moment in the quiet leads to him getting to know the son of the dastardly neighbors, Porter Eldin, things take a turn. Porter’s house is filled with vitriol and hatred. He goes home only once a year, on Christmas, for his mother’s sake.
The story is told in chapters of four Christmases, starting with the one where Porter (Poe) and Auden meet, each taking a moment away from their respective families, Auden for quiet, Poe to get away from the hatred. Auden has no filter and so blurts out embarrassing things. “How come you’re not yelling at me and giving me the evil eye? Aren’t we supposed to be enemies?” Luckily Poe can handle it. The whole reason for the feuding family has been kept from Auden, no one in the family will share. But Poe does. His bigoted father and brother started it, calling Auden slurs.
A year goes by and another Christmas is here. And this is where I lost some respect for Auden, and also was dismayed. This family is tight knit and supportive, protective of their own. Auden and Poe have been together a year and Auden refuses to tell his family, including his supposedly best-friend sister, who the man he’s seeing is. He is afraid the family will make him choose between them and Poe. I was thinking – he seriously underestimates this family who loves him if he believes they will turn on Poe and Auden. That was NOT the vibe coming from this family at all – that they would choose to victimize Poe, who was 16 at the time of the feud, had nothing to do with it, and faces hatred every time he goes home. So my rating was lowered when the family, while excruciatingly polite, does not welcome Poe as they should. It takes Poe getting hurt for a shift to be made and that was so out of character for them to be bigoted because of a last name I couldn’t get past it.
Put that aside and it’s a lovely story and very sweet. It’s short (56 pages) but doesn’t seem to be missing anything.
The cover, an abstract Christmas tree on a white snowing background, is pretty and fits.
GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 23,740 word