Title: Color of You
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
Category: Contemporary Holiday Romance
At a Glance: Give yourself the gift of love, family, and a full heart all in one book this holiday season—look no further than Color of You.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: 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.
Review: C.S. Poe’s Color of You ticked off so many of my happy compatibility boxes that I think the book and I are in a relationship now. This isn’t the first novel I’ve read fearuring a character with synesthesia, the neurological condition that causes a small percentage of people to smell sounds or taste words, for example. Or, in Bowen Merlin’s case, to see the color of sounds, particularly voices and music. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, though, and I’m chalking it right up to a sweet and joyful holiday win.
Bowen’s type of synesthesia means he has perfect pitch and is what one might call a musical prodigy because of it. As the new band director in a small and underfunded New Hampshire school district, he’s a long way from his New York City roots but is settling comfortably into the role of music teacher to both his high school and elementary students. As a teacher, winning over a group of kids isn’t easy under the best of circumstances, but Bowen makes it look easy because he’s just so darn likable. It doesn’t take long for his students to decide that Mr. Merlin and his eclectic bow tie collection are pretty damn cool, especially a sophomore named Alan, a talented young musician who ends up playing a pretty significant role in the story.
The meet-cute is the thing in Color of You, but it’s not quite the magic spark for Felix that it is for Bowen. Or, rather, it is, but there are things keeping Felix from jumping into the dating game in earnest, and I love the way Poe broke things down into its simplest form despite the difficulties. When it comes right down to it, these guys are apples and apples (yes, I went there), so compatible and perfect together in every way that it was impossible to imagine they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, overcome some of the external conflicts that seemed bent upon keeping them apart. Those complications were not insignificant, though. They are obstacles that steamroll over Bowen and Felix’s newfound and still fragile happiness, and provide for some suspenseful and very real drama that plucked my heart like a twelve-string banjo.
This story is romantic in the true definition of the word. It’s a warm hug, not one of those limp and wimpy things but a full-on two-armed squeeze for a cold winter night’s reading. I liked some of the secondary characters a lot too: Alan, especially, but Bowen’s best friend, Scarlet, and a fellow teacher, Stephen as well. Stephen turns out to be a great friend (who needs his own book) and is significant to the dramatic resolution, but they are all fantastic in their supporting roles.
The limited small town setting can sometimes lend a claustrophobic feel to a story—is a person’s private beeswax every truly private with all the tongue-wagging going on?—but the residents of Lancaster are, with a few heinous exceptions, a warm and friendly bunch who are supportive of the new couple, and I especially love how they rallied around Felix and Bowen when hate struck and tried its best to overcome the love that was growing between them.
Looking for a full-length holiday romance? Look no further than right here in Lancaster, New Hampshire. It’s a sweet and homey place to plant your feels for a bit, and maybe have your heart grow three sizes in the process.
You can buy Color of You here:
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