Like the last few years we at Love Bytes are reviewing the whole dsp advent calender
There will be a review posted each day throughout the month of December.
Let us know what you think of the reviews and the stories and have a chance to win a fabulous giveaway.
First Prize: 10 Dreamspinner Press ebooks (winner’s choice)
Second Prize: 5 Dreamspinner Press ebooks (winner’s choice)
Third Prize: 3 Dreamspinner Press ebooks (winner’s choice)
Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: The Holly Groweth Green
SERIES: 2017 Dreamspinner Advent Calendar- Stocking Stuffers
AUTHOR: Amy Rae Durreson
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 62 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2017
When wounded doctor Laurence Payne is stranded in the snowy English countryside on Christmas Eve, 1946, he is surprised to stumble upon Mistle Cottage and its mysterious inhabitant. Avery claims to be an Elizabethan wizard, and Laurence struggles to explain away the atmosphere of the cottage as mere coincidence and trickery. He spends a magical twelve days of Christmas celebrating with Avery, but then wakes to find his lover has vanished and the cottage has fallen to ruin overnight.
Laurence’s investigations lead him to the story of an ancient fairy curse—Avery is doomed to spend only Christmas Eve to Twelfth Night in human form until he finds true love. Laurence sets out to give Avery the greatest gift of all—his heart and with it the chance to live for more than the fleeting winter weeks he’s been sentenced to.
This story was so good, I just loved it! After surviving the horrors of the war, Laurence’s only thought is to get back to London, spend Christmas somewhere a little less than horrible, and then start trying to figure out what to do with his life now that he’s home and can no longer operate the way he used to. When a snow storm and an unexpected delay land him at Avery’s doorstep, it seems almost serendipitous. Despite being a little odd, and claiming to be a wizard, Laurence first falls quite easily into the companionship Avery offers before falling into the man’s bed. Knowing that he needs to go regardless of his want to stay, its nevertheless jarring to wake up on what would’ve been day thirteen with Avery to find himself very much alone and that the cottage he’d been living in was now nothing more than a dilapidated ruin. Were the last twelve days an elaborate hallucination, or something more magical?
Like I said, this was so good! The author did a great job making this story flow with both the historical and magical elements working beautifully together. There was a great amount of character development and background information given also and it was unbelievably easy to lose myself in the story without feeling bogged down with unnecessary information. I found Laurence to be a very likeable character; flawed in the way all people are he nevertheless owned up to his own flaws and was nothing less than candid about the state he was left in due to his time served during the war. Avery obviously had his own cracks that needed fixing and while it took longer for his story to come out, it was painfully obvious that he’d been owning up to his mistakes for a very long time. Both men were just what the other needed and I loved seeing them come together. Add in some magic and the perfect amount of Christmas season traditions and I adored this story from start to finish.
I’d recommend everyone read this story, even those that see that historical label and turn away, because it was great. Honestly, I didn’t even register the historical elements after a while because everything else was so wonderfully written. 🙂