Title: Old Acquaintance
Author: Annabelle Jacobs
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 147 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
At a Glance: Old Acquaintance is a thoroughly enjoyable and happy-making holiday read, complete with smiles, sighs, and those heartwarming moments we all love.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: There are two sides to every story, even those buried in the past.
When Sam spots the hot guy moving in next door, he’s all for going round to introduce himself. That soon changes when it turns out his new neighbour is Charles Whitmore, an old school acquaintance. Sam didn’t like him back then, for good reason, and fifteen years haven’t altered that.
Splitting up from his long-term boyfriend means a move across the city for Charlie. As luck would have it, his immediate neighbour is a guy he went to school with, Sam Gellar. While Sam is less than welcoming, his best mate is more than happy to invite Charlie into their social circle. Whatever problem Sam has with him, Charlie resolves to get to the bottom of it because, frosty beginnings aside, Charlie likes him.
With Christmas just around the corner, fate pushes them together, and they get on much better than they ever did at school. Despite his efforts not to, Sam develops feelings for Charlie, and they appear to be reciprocated. If Sam wants to take things further, he needs to either confront Charlie about their past—a past Charlie seems to have forgotten entirely—or let it go and move on. Sam knows deep down that he can’t let it go, but can’t find the right time to bring it up either.
Review: If we’re being honest here, I read Holiday Romances for one reason and one reason only: they’re like comfort food for my wee heart. I go into them knowing that regardless of what happens once the story begins, by The End I’m guaranteed a smile, a happy sigh, and a heartwarming moment or two. Annabelle Jacobs’ Old Acquaintance delivers all of those things wrapped in a budding relationship that gets off to a rather inauspicious start, to say the least.
It is a one-sided enemies-to-lovers story, which is kind of awesome and simply means that one of the men, namely Charlie, doesn’t even realize he’s the enemy at first, so I loved that fun little twist on the trope. This enmity towards Charlie on Sam’s part is what causes all the friction (of the non-sexual tension variety) when Sam recognizes that Charlie is the guy he loathed back in secondary school. So, the dilemma for Sam is twofold from the start: 1.) being a grown man now, should he still be holding a grudge against Charlie after fifteen years? And 2.) can Sam accept that Charlie very probably isn’t the same guy he was all those years ago? People can and do change, right? But then that causes an additional problem too, seeing as how Sam is sort of helplessly attracted to the man who was the kid he’s hated for so long.
Charlie, poor Charlie, is fresh off a breakup with his boyfriend of five years, a split that had been a while coming, but he’s still heartsore over it nonetheless. He and his ex, Tim, are trying to keep things amicable with the hope of salvaging a friendship from the ruins of their relationship, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard on Charlie, being alone in a new apartment right before Christmas. Charlie’s move across town places him in direct proximity to Sam, who just so happens to be Charlie’s new neighbor, but for reasons unknown to Charlie, as friendly as he tries to be, Sam seems to both hate him but also doesn’t miss an opportunity to check out Charlie’s assets either. With a little help from good old-fashioned coincidence, fate, luck (whatever you want to call it), Sam and Charlie are about to embark on something new and meaningful. Eventually.
While Old Acquaintance isn’t necessarily a second-chance romance, there is a sort of starting over feel to the story. Sam and Charlie get the chance to start fresh, to build something new out of the detritus of old lies and misunderstandings. When that finally happens, it’s lovely. There are so many little things I appreciated about this story, one of them being that Sam and Charlie are just regular Joes. I love that they are both down-to-earth, work-with-their-hands guys, something I feel like we don’t see a lot of in the romance genre, where the corporate sharks and bad boys who find The One that gets past his icy exterior on their way to redemption is so prevalent. Not that I don’t love those stories too, but Sam and Charlie are a refreshing change of pace all the same. Both were on equal footing in that regard, and therefore, there was never a moment where one had something to prove to the other, apart from clearing up the past, to get them to something resembling common ground.
Another tick in the appreciation column for me is that Jacobs makes her men talk about the tough stuff. Of course, the friction built to just the right peak before it happened, but an inability to use words as a means of brewing angst is always rather tedious to me and was thankfully absent in favor of Sam and Charlie being honest with each other. It didn’t always go well at first, but they at least faced those tough conversations and worked through them. In the end, it all came together to make this short novel a thoroughly enjoyable and happy-making holiday read, complete with smiles, sighs, and those heartwarming moments we all love.
You can buy Old Acquaintance here:
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