Marc reviews ‘All I Want For Christmas’ by Izzy van Swelm. The book was published by the author on December 4th and is 28 pages long.
I have met the author two times at the UK Meet in Bristol and planned on checking out her debut ‘Soulmate For Sin’ by Wilde City Press, but never got to it. When I saw this short holiday story, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out the author’s style and I chose it as one of my 2-4-1 theme week reads (2 stories with <150 pages). I did not expect the story to be this emotional in only 28 pages, but I’m very glad I gave it a try.
Stuart, still grieving for his husband Oliver, is spending Christmas Eve evening in a village church watching his granddaughter in a nativity play.
The location, play and carols bring back memories and so much more.
In my experience, most holiday books get bought, read and reviewed almost exclusively during the holiday season. I might be an outlier, but while I rarely buy holiday-themed books, I read those I DO get spread over the whole year.
Sometimes it’s nice to sit in the sun with my kindle and imagine the cozy days in front of the open fireplace during Christmas time. To be honest, often I can appreciate the beautiful images those books draw for me more during spring or summer, than when I’m actually freezing my ass off in the terribly cold weather and realize that I don’t actually own an open fireplace. Or when I realize just how much stress the merry season will be AGAIN. I love the importance family and love during the holiday season and focusing on the best those days have to offer, works well for me – on any day.
To be honest, I was sort of expecting a sweet, comforting holiday short with likable, but easily forgotten characters. 28 pages are not long to really make readers care about the characters and story. Comfort reads can be a great thing, but it was a wonderful surprise that the author chose a different path with this story.
The main protagonist, Stuart, has lost his husband and is still griefing for him. Even with his family and the next generations close by, he feels alone without Olliver and thinks back on their shared time together.
It was very easy for me to feel Stuart’s pain, even though I haven’t lived through anything that could compare with his loss. I know though, what it would be like to live without my boyfriend of 5 years and given how long the two men had been together, I’m convinced the pain he feels must be almost unbareable.
Readers are able to look into the past and experience Stuart’s life with his husband, as he remembers him, and it was impossible for me not to love the man. He had many beautiful moments and some truly heartbreaking ones and I can only hope to have such a full life at the end of my own journey and hope to be lucky enough to spend as much time with the man I have fallen in love with.
The book has a wonderful message about love and loss and grief and moved me a lot, especially during the unexpected and bittersweet ending.
The story might be short, but it will not be easily forgotten and I highly recomend everyone to check it out!
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Izzy van Swelm is English, but took her Mother in Law’s maiden name as a pen name. Izzy dreams of a world where all sentient species have the rights and respect they deserve. Where LGBTQAI lovers and friends, old and young, can walk holding hands meeting nothing more than the occasional affectionate glance, like anyone else. A world where intelligence, gentleness and compassion are the overwhelming attributes of politicians, and religion is practiced by those who believe, but never forced on those who do not.
Izzy is a romantic, a dreamer and a vegetarian and just a little eccentric. Izzy writes because she loves to tell stories, and she hopes that her stories will bring happiness, enjoyment and maybe to some…a little hope.