Title: Hometown Christmas
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 165 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
At a Glance: Another tick in the win column for Garrett Leigh. This one was sexy and romantic with a nice little Christmas feel. I hope you will all love Yani and Gavin as much as I do!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Yani Nicolaou is sworn off love for good. After fleeing a bad break-up in London, the only blood, sweat, and tears he has left are for his gyro stall at the Christmas market. Rebound fling? No thanks. He’s sticking to one-night-stands.
Ex-army vet Gavin Richie has even less capacity for romance. Managing a homeless shelter while recovering from injury keeps him far too busy. So what if he’s often alone? He’s content being single, or so he thinks until a chance meeting lights a spark he can’t ignore.
Yani is the warmth and affection Gavin hadn’t known he was missing. As Christmas lights up the city, their lives entwine in more ways than one. Falling for each other is easy. Holding on is harder, unless a hometown Christmas proves their love can last longer than the festive season.
Review: I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect going into Hometown Christmas, Garrett Leigh’s newest release. Well, to a degree I did, of course, being that I’m no stranger to this author’s work…But, shmoopy Christmas stories aren’t really her thing, so I didn’t think it was going to be that. Then again, I also didn’t think she would send us on the holiday train to Angstville, so I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be that either. What I did get was an incredibly sweet Christmas romance, told with Leigh’s trademark grit and authenticity. That genuineness is one of the things I most love about Leigh’s books. Her characters are always so real and honest, I fall in love with every one of them—or, in the case of characters we’ve met before, like Gavin, I fall for them again—and I also love immersing myself in the language and British culture stuff.
Hometown Christmas is set in Leeds, in Northern England, which is where Gavin is from (hence the title), but his career in the British special forces kept him away from home for most of his adult life. Back in Leeds after a career-ending accident, Gavin spends much of his time working as the night supervisor at a local homeless shelter. The same shelter where Yani is roped into volunteering to cook by his best friend Bex. Yani has a stall at the Christmas market, where he works tirelessly turning out Greek food for the shoppers, but he can’t refuse Bex; and once he sees that Gavin—the bloke he had a brief but fuckhot coffee shop encounter with—works there, he starts showing up to help more frequently.
Gavin and Yani’s connection is immediate and intense. I adored their mutual admiration and respect, and how they basically just got each other. But I also loved that it was a bit of a slow burn. They both knew there was something special there, but they also each had their own reasons for not wanting to jump into a relationship, so they took the time to nurture their friendship and just be there for each other. Until the way they felt became too big to ignore anyway. I loved this bit from Gavin’s POV so much:
He wondered if Yani would ever know what a breath of fresh air he’d been to Gavin’s soul. And what a fucking riot he’d started in his heart.
The attraction was there, no question, but so was this deep affection that just kept growing the more they got to know each other.
As usual, Leigh sheds light on some tough subjects—in this case, homelessness, mental illness, particularly OCD, and, though less overtly, PTSD—but, does so in a totally relatable and non-preachy way. Gavin’s patience and refusal to let Yani use his OCD as an excuse to shut him out or run away were next level, and I adored him so hard. Also, it was awesome how much the author’s own passion for cooking shines through so much in Yani. I loved how she incorporated his background and some of his family recipes into the story.
Hometown Christmas was a lovely holiday read. Perhaps made even better by the fact that it was a crossover story, which Leigh does so well, once again bringing together the Urban Soul universe with her boys from Between Ghosts. It was great to see Nat and Connor, and Marc and Jamie in some fun cameos. It made me want to go do some rereads! So, yeah…another tick in the win column for Garrett Leigh. This one was sexy and romantic with a nice little Christmas feel. I hope you will all love Yani and Gavin as much as I do!
You can buy Hometown Christmas here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B081K48JVV?d” style=”black” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]