Title: Four Christmases
Author: Nell Iris
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 75 Pages
Category: Contemporary Holiday Romance
At a Glance: While I did enjoy several aspects of this story, I also struggled quite a bit with the delivery. Even though Four Christmases wasn’t my favorite of Nell Iris’s novellas, I will absolutely continue to check out her future books. And if you want a nice, extremely sweet Christmas story, maybe go ahead and give this one a try.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Will a decade-old family feud and long held secrets stand in the way of love?
Auden Whipple is searching for a bit of peace and quiet from his loud family when he stumbles across the neighbor, Porter Eldin. Porter is scorching hot on a freezing Christmas Day, and nothing like Auden expected. A moment shared by the creek begins a relationship that surprises them both.
As the Christmases pass, Auden and Porter’s relationship deepens. But the obstacle of the unresolved conflict between the Whipples and the Eldins makes Auden worried. Worried to tell his family of his new-found love, worried that the conflict will come between them.
Can two men truly in love help mend fences that have been broken for too long? Can the holiday spirit help Auden and Porter find their happily ever after?
Review: The Whipples and the Eldins hate each other—have for over a decade—so Auden Whipple definitely knows he shouldn’t be crushing on Porter ‘Poe’ Eldin after running into him down by the stream between their properties on Christmas day. The problem is, he doesn’t know why they’re supposed to hate each other. When the incident that started the feud happened, Auden was away at camp, so he doesn’t know exactly what happened—but, he’s always been sure that it was about him. When Poe confirms this to be true, it makes the feelings that spark between them even more problematic. Auden’s family can’t get over the ugliness the Eldins exhibited, and Poe’s family, except for his mother, is no closer to a change of heart on their opinion of their neighbors. So, both men worry that their being together will never be accepted.
Auden and Poe are both such sweet characters. Auden is a quiet artist. A bit of an introvert, who describes himself as sensitive, and swishy. Auden isn’t the type of gay one can typically cover up; he’s never been able to “pass.” Poe is the opposite. Shaved head, leather jacket and Doc Marten’s… Auden is instantly attracted to him. And, together they work. I loved how sweet they were with each other and watching the relationship change over the course of the book. I also adored Auden’s family. His sister, his parents, his loud, crass granny…they are all in his corner, and love him to pieces. On the flip side, Poe’s family is awful. At least, his brother and father are. The author did a nice job portraying the dynamics of both families and getting me to love one and hate the other. I also enjoyed the structure of the story. Told over the course of four Christmases, as the title suggests, we get to see how things have progressed each year between Poe and Auden, as well as what’s going on with the families.
However, while I did enjoy several aspects of the story, I also struggled quite a bit with the delivery. Told in first person present tense, it sometimes felt a bit stilted. Also, Auden’s “voice” was not always consistent, and frequently sounded out of place. He comes across as much older than his age much of the time as well, or even just very old fashioned. Which, hey, don’t get me wrong… I don’t mind if a character is an old soul. That’s nice sometimes. But the entire narrative sometimes felt at odds with the time period.
I have an excellent track record with Nell Iris, though. So, I’m not even worried, you guys. 😊 Even though Four Christmases wasn’t my favorite of her novellas, I will absolutely continue to check out her future books. And if you want a nice, extremely sweet Christmas story, maybe go ahead and give this one a try. Your mileage may absolutely vary. And finally, I have to quickly mention the utter perfection of this cover! I was in love with it from the moment I saw it, but after reading the book I love it even more. Shout out to the wonderful artist.
You can buy Four Christmases here:
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