By Jay Northcote
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.
Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.
Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.
It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretence makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.
“A Family for Christmas” is like being wrapped up snugly in a warm, cozy blanket: blissful to your senses, satisfying to your spirit, and pleasing to your soul.
I connected with author Jay Northcote’s raw portrayal of Rudy’s and Zac’s vulnerabilities. I found it particularly easy to empathize with Rudy, and my heart ached for Zac – I just wanted to take hold of his hand, guide him to Rudy, and tell him to grasp hold, believe, feel, and never let go. Instead, I read on and was treated to a heartfelt romance, a beautiful and delightfully crafted love story. I was completely drawn to this couple’s step-by-step evolution, how they had to confront and conquer their past fears and trust issues to take a chance on being together, exploring their emotions, and falling in love.
This is a multi-dimensional story – just like in real life – and the secondary characters and life going on around the characters make it seem that much more real. As much as I didn’t want the story to end, the HEA was so right.
As always, Northcote pens a wonderfully written, realistic and relatable love story with thoroughly developed and well-rounded characters, one that readers feel pulled into, almost as if they are present for the story as it unfolds around them.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.
(originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads, December 28, 2016)