Rating: 4.5 🌈⛄️
My holiday reading continues with V.L. Locey’s The Christmas Tenor, the 3rd novel in her Laurel Holidays series, each a standalone story.
The Christmas Tenor is a very sweet, sexy holiday romance between a older, withdrawn widower and a young confident singer,. The older man is Cabriolet Vermat who withdrew from everyone and everything following the death of his famous actor husband from cancer . The exceptions being his twin brother and his incredibly successful business, Cabriolet Chauffeur Services and the people who help him run it.
Cabriolet and his twin brother, Pierre, are incredible characters. Indeed, it’s actually hard to separate them I. My mind. Not because of their personalities, because those are quite distinct! But because the author has done such a fabulous job of creating such a tight emotionally deep close bond between these brothers that , even for them, to be separated feels wrong.
From the ages old banter that flows between them to the ability to hurt as well, this brotherly dynamic (and Pierre’s flare with his wardrobe) was as popular with me as was the main romance. Adore these brothers…and now Pierre needs a true love FYI!
Those two are dealing with so many compelling issues. There’s Cabriolet’s inability to move past his husband’s death. Pierre’s inability to accept their mother’s rejection of their gayness and essential abandonment. Age has nothing to do with loss and pain and love.
This is handled so beautifully.
Julian Baez is also a fascinating, well defined character. Younger, decisive about his goals for himself and his needs, especially what they consist in a relationship, Jules is a dynamic, sexy personality. Who likes older black men. He’s extremely clear on why that is, his expectations, and the need for someone like that in his life. While making it less like a PowerPoint presentation and more a reasonable life choice.
I loved Jules too. Maybe not with the adoration I have for Cabriolet and Pierre but it’s definitely there. They are a great match. Locey makes us see the chemistry and get how it works for them both.
The only reason it’s a smidge under 5 🌈 is I felt that ending was a bit rushed. It went from Cab slowly making one decision, to one change, then another, then another. That may be how it works in the mucin world but I didn’t think how It showed Jules handled it was in keeping with the character “who was a take charge “ of his future sort.
So I thought there was a bit of fumbling there at the end to get them where the author needed them to go.
However, that’s a slight issue. The epilogue is wonderful and the journey to get there overwhelmingly heartwarming and sweet.
I really enjoyed this. I think you will too. Add it to your TBR holiday list. I’m highly recommending this!
Laurel Holidays series:
A trip that he thought would bring him only pain is about to present him with the greatest gift of all.
For three years now, Cabriolet Vermat has put off, wiggled out of, and outright lied to get out of making this dreaded trip east. The owner of Cabriolet Chauffeur Services in Los Angeles has avoided the yearly invitation to the small town of White Bridge, New York, to speak at their alumni winter gathering but this year they’ve outfoxed him. They’re throwing a dinner to honor his late partner’s dedication to his alma mater and have asked Cab to speak. This time he has to go no matter how much pain it will stir up. Arriving in the picturesque small town beside one of the Finger Lakes, Cab is treated to a special performance of holiday songs and there he sees Julian Gabriel Baez for the first time.
The young singer captivates him immediately, and he finds himself seeking out the much younger man after the performance. The pull he feels toward Jules is unlike anything he’s felt since he met his partner years ago. Confusion and desire war within him, but the outgoing young tenor wins him over with his engaging smile and kind heart. A two-day trip soon turns into an extended holiday vacation. Cab worries that the magic of Christmas will quickly fizzle out and he’ll be alone once more. Or will this festive season bestow a blessing of the heart upon a man who thought he would never love again?
The Christmas Tenor is a standalone small-town gay Christmas romance with a beautiful May-December relationship, a lonely widower, a rising opera star, loving families, and plenty of holiday joy.