Book Reviews

The Holly Groweth Green (2017 Advent Calendar - Stocking Stuffers) by Amy Rae Durreson at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Historical / Fantasy / 20th Century / High Fantasy / Wizards & Witches / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 22-December-2017

Book Blurb

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.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

Book Review

“It's funny when one door closes another one opens! Never look back on the things you regret, always look forward to the things you know were right in your heart.” ~ Nishan Panwar

Laurence Payne is discouraged because he was injured in battle. Although he lived through it, he has a brain injury that makes it difficult to do all the things he did beforehand. It may not be a problem for some people, they can simply learn a new trade. But for Laurence it's devastating, because he's a trained physician and continuing to practice medicine seems unlikely. That door seems to be closed forever, but a new one is opening, if Laurence can just see it.

Laurence is on a train, desperately trying to figure out what to do with his life, and in a hurry to get started. Unfortunately, the train gets stuck in the snow, meaning he's going to get nowhere any time soon. Impatient, Lawrence decides to take a walk, but quickly gets lost. When he's beginning to seriously worry about himself, he comes upon the welcome sight of a cozy cottage, which he hopes will be a refuge from the storm. The occupant, Avery, welcomes him with open arms. When they introduce themselves, Laurence begins to think that the man is eccentric at best, when he tells Laurence that he's a cursed Elizabethan wizard. What he doesn't tell Laurence is that the only thing that can break the curse and allow him to live year-round instead of only during the twenty-one days of Christmastide. They have a marvelous Christmas and continue to enjoy each other's presence, even become lovers. Avery hopes that Laurence will be the one, but alas, when the holiday is over, once again Avery disappears.

This short but wonderful story certainly enchanted me. I loved the characters, especially in the humor they showed about changes in the world since before Avery was cursed. I was amused that, even though Avery could have done almost everything more easily with his magic, he knew it disturbed Laurence, so he tried his best to do things without it. It reminded me of the old TV show I Dream of Jeanie, in that Jeanie's husband didn't want her to use her magic either. Thanks, Amy, for the charming, endearing Christmas story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 55 pages/17810 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-December-2017
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link