I have to say that I am not a great fan of Holiday romances, as they are usually full of ridiculous coincidences and enough sweetness to induce a diabetic coma. But in this lovely, well written Christmas romance, Amy Jo Cousins keeps the story and the characters the right side of realism and cynicism, but adds a little seasonal glitter.
Eddie Rodrigues is on the road again, with barely enough cash in his pocket to hop on a bus to Texas after the car he is driving breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Midwest, USA.
He’s fine. He’ll manage, as he has always had to. Then, as he hikes along the road of a small town, he witnesses a young woman being knocked down by a hit and run driver. Screaming for help he holds the girl on his lap until ambulances and police arrive. By this time he is in shock and covered in the girl’s blood.
As he is needed as a witness, the local cop, Christine persuades a local reclusive shop owner to let Eddie stay overnight at his large home. Grayson Croft isn’t in the habit of doing people any favours. However, when Christine, who is old school friend as well as local law-enforcement, asks him to put up her key witness for the night, he says yes.
Eddie turns out to be a grouchy glass artist who travels between Renaissance Faires during the summer and usually spends winter in Texas. But Eddie Rodrigues never stays anywhere very long. He is disparaging about himself, life, the universe and everything, yet inside he yearns for love and a normalcy that has never been part of his life.
Gray decides he likes hearing Eddie walking around in his big empty house, and despite a miscommunication at the very beginning, offers Eddie a job in his shop, which only opens for two months of the year. The Christmas Shoppe has been in his family for three generations and now it is Gray’s. He sells beautiful Christmas ornaments and hard to find seasonal treasures. As a weird – and slightly awkward – relationship begins between the two very different men, Gray sets up a workshop for Eddie in his garage and Eddie starts to create ornaments to sell in the shop.
This is a character-driven story about two damaged souls finding the life and love they have been searching for in each other. It is very sensitively written and thank goodness there are no sudden epiphanies where the characters throw all previous documented personality traits to the wind. This is a sweet story about the dismantling of the defences around two broken hearts.
The small town environment, a few quirky residents and seasonal kindnesses are here, as are the hard background stories, but they are presented in a palatable and subtle way. There are no irritating well-timed snow showers, or surprise turkey dinners, in fact…no that would be a spoiler too far.
A couple of sub-plots aren’t developed enough, whilst the ending involves a slight contrivance I wasn’t keen on. I really admired how the author was able to convey so much about the two main characters without the need for great streams of exposition.
Despite the slight reservations, I really enjoyed reading Glass Tidings and even developed fuzzy feelings for Eddie and Gray. I am a sucker for any story that in some way reminds me of The Little Matchgirl, especially if it has an HEA.
I'm an English romantic, and an author who simply adores reading and writing books. I believe that all love has equal status, and all humans need and deserve romance. So, I am thrilled to be able to review LGBTQ+ novels for AAR and introduce more readers to some gorgeous LGBTQ+ romances and fascinating stories.