A Holiday Homecoming by Liv Rancourt

A Holiday Homecoming by Liv Rancourt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (62 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Ten years ago Jon’s passion for the piano took him across the country to New York, where a demanding concert career consumed his life and left him no time to look back. His father’s stroke is the only thing that brings him home to Seattle. The sickroom makes for a dreary holiday until Jon runs into Bo, whose inner light can make anything sparkle.

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Jon moved to New York for his career a decade ago and hasn’t looked back until his father has a stroke and Jon finds himself back in Seattle for the holiday season. Jon is not happy to be back, until he meets up with an old school friend Bo. Can Bo’s infectious joy for the Christmas season help Jon through this time, and can the two men form something lasting when they live on opposite sides of the country?

I found this story deeply intriguing. While most Christmas-themed stories are usually chock-full of cheer and holiday joy – usually with just a snippet of conflict or real issues – this story managed to balance the joy of Christmas along with some all-too-realistic problems. Jon’s difficult relationship with his father, for example. He’s has never been as supportive or proud of Jon’s achievements as Jon could have hoped. Or the fact Jon and his parents are all struggling with the new reality the stroke has wedged into their lives. All this fairly heavy drama is really well balanced, I feel, with Bo’s genuine joy and happiness at Christmas and the light he brings into Jon’s world. While I don’t feel this will be every reader’s cup of tea – readers looking for a light, happy, fluffy short story might feel the family-driven conflict and issues are a bit too deep or cut too close to home – I personally really loved it and found it a short story I could really sink my teeth into.

I loved the complexities – and many rather subtle – differences between Bo and Jon. The way the author alternated between each man’s perspective through the chapters really helped with this. While Jon was a little more serious, a little more vulnerable and shy Bo was a fire cracker and I found his insights an absolute riot to read and often found myself giggling (the line “Fortunately, the waiter popped up like some kind of genie out of a bottle of self-tanner, changing the subject” made me laugh in remembrance even hours after I finished reading).

Despite these rather large differences between Jon and Bo’s personalities it was clear from the start that Bo could help bring some joy, happiness and relaxation into Jon’s life and Jon could bring structure and support to Bo’s life. I really loved watching these two men not only come together, but overcome the logistical obstacles (like not being able to fly between Seattle and New York, to start with) between them.

Complicated and somewhat deep, I found this to be an intense but really wonderful Christmas story. I absolutely loved it and will be eagerly looking for more by this author. Recommended.

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