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.
I’m going to be in the minority here. It took me awhile to figure it out and I had to really think on what about this story didn’t work for me. There’s so much about it to like/love. The music is what attracted me originally, the hurt/comfort aspect and the scarring, the big city meets country – all of these things really worked for me. I also loved the synesthesia –that was not only cool but really interesting, too. At first, I thought maybe it was the insta-love – and I think that wasn’t my favorite aspect, but it didn’t bother me that much EXCEPT…
I never liked Bowen. Ugh. I said it. I wanted to like him, but I never warmed to him. He was bossy and though he said he wanted an equal in his relationships, he was just too bossy/toppy and as I’ve said before I really shy away from anything even remotely BDSM and his relationship with Felix really bordered on D/s in the sense that he was so dominant.
Many people really enjoyed this and if you’re not as sensitive to that particular power dynamic it might not bother you either – but – for me – each time they were intimate and Bowen began to talk it just pushed all the wrong buttons for me and that influenced my feelings for the rest of the story.
In general, it was really sweet – with an OTT subplot about homophobia that sort of matched the super quick love story and large personalities of all the secondary characters.
I think people who are looking for something really sweet, holiday themed, super quick love story with some interesting/quirky characters will find this right up their alley.
3 of 5 stars
Greg B (Tremblay) does his typically wonderful job with this and it was his narration that attracted me to this story in the first place. I knew I could trust that he would be easy on the ears and really let me sink into the story. He did not disappoint!
5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review