Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Color of You
AUTHOR: C.S. Poe
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 25, 2017
Bowen Merlin— yes, that’s his real name—accepts a position in the quaint town of Lancaster, New Hampshire as the high school band director. He leaves New York City for the snowy countryside of New England just in time for the holidays. With class, homework, after school activities, and a surprise Christmas concert to plan and rehearse, Bowen is plenty busy. And since he’s never had much luck with romance, factoring in time to find Mr. Right isn’t a priority….
Until he meets the proprietor of Snowy Ridge Apple Orchard, Felix Hansen. Suddenly, true love seems like a possibility for the first time in Bowen’s life. The two are a perfect match and fill the skipped beats of each other’s hearts. But as wonderful as Felix seems, he’s harboring scars that could end their budding relationship when someone in town goes to great lengths to sabotage their careers.
If Bowen is to survive the holidays, he’ll need to lean on old friends and new, convince Felix he’s worth any hardship, and prove they can come out of the catastrophe stronger if they do so together.
Lancaster, New Hampshire is pretty much a Christmas-card kind of town. It just also happens to be worlds away from the kind of place that Merlin–no, not that one–is used to living in. But while it might not be New York, Lancaster does have its silver linings. And Felix Hansen might just be the most shiny silverest lining of them all. If only Merlin could get the guy to give him a chance. It probably doesn’t help that Merlin is Felix’s son’s new music teacher, or that Felix has rather noticeable scars–both literally and figuratively–but in small-town New Hampshire there really isn’t a whole lot to do. Wooing the nice apple-orchard owner over Christmas can’t be that hard, can it?
My second C.S. Poe book for the month, the Color of You is pretty much everything I have come to expect from this author. Well written story, relatable characters, and a plot that keeps me turning pages way longer than I probably should be. It is also very much Christmas and Holiday Cheer…with a dash of mystery (just a dash) thrown in.
I have to admit, though, that I never really got over imagining actor Colin Morgan whenever the name Merlin was on page–damn you, years of fandom–but it quickly became something I could at least put in the back of my mind. Geeky, hipster-ish, Merlin was rather adorable in his own right, and Felix’s standoffishness really worked for me as a contrast to Merlin. And yeah, I kinda want my Christmas stories to be sweet and adorable, and this story more than gave that to me.
The ending–my only gripe, really–was a bit too tv-special. I don’t want to go into what exactly happened because that kinda ruins the last third of the story, but I will say a lot of it pushed the bounds of reality or common sense.
While the story turned a bit too much Hallmark–at least for my own tastes–near the end, I really enjoyed this story. So much so that I read it like three weeks before the deadline for this review came up. I was only going to read a chapter or two to see what it felt like, and three hours later I was finishing up the story and looking around for any crumbs I could lick off the metaphorical plate. I know people are going to be slowly packing up the holiday gear soon, and holiday stories are about to be relegated to the tbr pile for next year, but if you have some downtime in the next few days (or you desperately need some alone time away from all your family) I’d say give this one a go.