Book Reviews

The Holiday Home Hotel by Lou Sylvre at Mischief Corner Books

Genre Gay / Fantasy / Gods/Godesses / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 15-December-2018

Book Blurb

Daren Novak and Gunny Schuler have known each other since freshmen days at the University of Washington, where they'd started a romance Daren assumed would last. But at the start of winter break, Gunny bowed to the dictates of his lifelong religion and his overbearing father and left UW never to return.

After a failed marriage, Gunny built a quiet life embracing his gay identity, and left his North Dakota home, his marriage, and his father's business for a forestry and teaching career in Oregon. Meanwhile, Daren has built up his own life around managing a unique holiday venue, the Holiday Home Hotel, and performing for the guests in drag as "Dare."

A decade has passed since they last saw each other, but now winter’s harsh weather brings them face to face—helped along by a minor goddess and powerful forest spirit. Too much hurt might lie between them now to fix things, but interfering supernatural beings are determined to force them to try.

Book Review

Gunny Schuler, of 'The Holiday Home Hotel' by Lou Sylvre, gets lost in the woods due to some supernatural interference, and even with all his forestry training, he's afraid. Fortunately, he spots a hotel in the middle of nowhere. A beautiful white dog, in reality the minor goddess Lelia, comes out to greet him and brings him to the door. One of the employees, Larin, brings Gunny inside then tries to figure out what to do with him. They are booked solid. Daren, the owner, doesn't want to inconvenience his employees so he tells Larin that the stranger can sleep in the spare bedroom in his cabin. Daren has no idea that the “stranger” is his lost lover.

Through a comedy of errors, Gunny and Daren keep missing each other. Since neither man knows who Lelia is or what she is attempting to do, they both misunderstand her. They each have hints as to the other's identity, i.e., Daren "imagines" that he smells Gunny's scent on his pillow and Gunny hears Daren singing, but it doesn't occur to him that Daren is actually there. Unfortunately, Gunny spots Daren first and freaks out. He is sure Daren hates him for leaving him so abruptly years ago and wants to leave but he can't. For one thing, the weather is horrible and for another, he has lost his keys. Gunny decides to come clean and, if he doesn't get to tell Daren how things have changed since they were last together, he at least wants to apologize to Daren for hurting him all those years ago.

After Gunny's betrayal back in college, Daren has gone for years without having anyone special in his life. Even though Gunny hurt him badly, in his heart, he knows that he will never love anyone as much as he did Gunny, so he doesn't try. The hotel is his heart and soul and its success reflects his dedication. Daren also performs as Dare, a sultry cross-dresser in the lounge of the hotel. He created that persona years ago, while he was in college. When thinking of Gunny, Daren has an overwhelming reaction of love and hurt that hasn’t eased with time. When Gunny appears in the lounge in the middle of Dare's act, all the hurt and pain comes flooding back. Daren is furious that, somehow, Gunny has tracked him down. He's livid thinking that Gunny has the nerve to think Daren would even want to see him after all these years! When Gunny tries to talk to him, Daren cuts him off and won't listen to what he has to say.

This is a story about being loved and lost, then having a second chance given to the lovers to forgive and come back together. The interesting twist in this magical Christmas tale is the intervention of supernatural beings. It was sweet that Lelia cared so much about giving them another chance, not only to forgive and forget, but to actually renew their relationship. Thanks, Lou, for the story of forgiveness and redemption mixed with some holiday magic.





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 121 pages/31000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 15-December-2018
Price $2.99 ebook
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