Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ARC Review: The Working Elf Blues by Piper Vaughn


Garnet Evergreen has never heard of an elf abandoning the North Pole for a human, but he yearns to be the first. Ever since he saw Wes, the boy with sorrowful eyes, Garnet felt an undeniable kinship. Over the years, he's watched that boy grow into a man, and now he's determined to give Wes a Christmas he'll never forget. If only Garnet had thought to test his father's sleigh before leaving.

Orphaned as a child, Wes spends every Christmas alone at his cabin. When he's woken by a suspicious boom and finds a wrecked sleigh and an unconscious elf, he doesn't know how to react. Wes isn't fanciful. He doesn't give much credence to the stories about Santa Claus and flying reindeer. But a part of him wants desperately to believe when Garnet promises forever, even if life has taught him that no one ever stays,

Dani's rating:

This one is a honeyed treat: a little quirky, a whole lot romantic, and oozing gooey charm.

A toymaker elf pines for a human. Every five years Garnet visits Wes on Christmas Eve. This year, Garnet wants to stay.

"You were so sad the first time I saw you. At first I only wanted to check in, see if that sadness had gone away. But when I saw you that second time, I . . . Your eyes were the same, and the last time too, and I . . ."

Wanted to take your pain away. Wanted to help. Wanted to stay. Just . . . wanted.

Wes, alone in his cozy cabin save for his four dogs to keep him company, is lonely but doesn’t dare dream of forever.

When Garnet literally crashes into his life, Wes feels hopeful and a bit afraid. He remembers Garnet, and Garnet always leaves. Everyone leaves.

I loved the magic here: the layering of contemporary romance over the mythical traditions of Christmas.

This story reads like a modern-day fairy tale: the longing, the obstacles that have to be overcome, the make-your-heart-sing HEA.

"You. You were my gift."

Any story that features Santa as a secondary character and makes this agnostic Jewish reader yearn for the holiday spirit deserves a nearly perfect rating.

This will be my annual pick-me-up when I’m feeling like Scrooge and bitching about driving in the snow.

Please note: best served with cup of hot cocoa and cinnamon-sugar toast.

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