The Best Gift by Eli Easton #LGBT #MMRomance #Holidays #Review

Dana reviews The Best Gift by Eli Easton (Published November 16, 2021, 153 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb:

THE BEST GIFT – by Eli Easton
With help from a Christmas miracle, two bruised hearts find joy again.

Greg Cabot is the third generation to run Cabot’s Christmas Wonderland and tree farm in rural Vermont. But this year will be his last. Since the death of his son, Sam, in Afghanistan, Greg no longer has the heart to run a business based on holiday cheer. When he picks up a hitchhiking soldier on a snowy night, he finds the help he needs to get his farm through the holidays—and maybe much more.

Sergeant Robbie Sparks doesn’t have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Badly wounded in Afghanistan, he’s spent most of the past year in recovery and was discharged after ten years of service. When fate lands him at Cabot’s tree farm, he feels like he’s fallen into a snow globe reality. Friendly people, gorgeous trees, lots of Christmas kitsch… and Greg Cabot.

Greg believes he’s too heartbroken for romance, but those we love never truly leave us. A little nudge from heaven may help build a bridge for these two men trying to heal. If only they are willing to take that first step.

This stand-alone, long novella is a small town, Christmas cornucopia, May-December, hurt/comfort , military romance stuffed full of family and holiday feels.

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I have read every Eli Easton Christmas story she has written, and was thrilled to be offered a review copy of The Best Gift. Just like her other books, Christmas or not, I was swept up into the story and experienced a truckload of emotions.

At the start of this novel, we are introduced to Greg Cabot working at his Christmas Tree farm, polite and helpful, but drowning in misery. He is clearly just going through the motions and Christmas is not in his heart this year. He receives a mysterious package from his son, nearly a year after his death in Afghanistan. But he’s not quite ready to tackle the heartache of opening it, and goes to town to handle some banking for his business. Along the way he sees a soldier walking down the road and offers him a ride into town. Well, to my mind, this seems like it can’t be a coincidence, but in his grief he just sees a soldier needing help, help that he hoped someone would have given his son in the same circumstances.

Robbie Sparks is a wounded veteran, forced to retire from service after being burned and concussed in battle. His memories are scattered, but he does know that his last mission ended with several of his men dead, and he is mired in guilt and grief, too. Without family, he is heading to Maine to settle his deceased father’s estate, with no plans for what to do after. But all that can wait, when he is picked up by Greg Cabot and brought to his farm due to incoming snow. He sees an opportunity to be useful by helping at the short-handed tree farm. 

The two men’s sadness is legitimate for sure, but their shared company slowly brings a little lightness into their lives. Robbie bonds with the other employees it creates an atmosphere of joy that is contagious even to Greg. Greg’s presence seems to help Robbie’s nightmares. It seems that the two are made for each other as feelings grow and they act on their attraction, but eventually Greg puts two and two together. It does get a bit sticky for a little bit, but of course this is a Christmas romance, and with this author I don’t worry about a happy ending. 

About Sam, Greg’s son. It definitely feels like he had a hand in his dad meeting Robbie. Even before his death he did a lot of talking about his gay dad to his commanding officer, and talked up “RJ” to his dad during video calls. It seems like Sam had been trying to play matchmaker for sometime, The mysterious present to his dad honestly had me balling my eyes out. I swear I am just a sucker for messages from the deceased. All in all, it was an emotional story of loss and learning to live again. There were sexy moments and a few thrilling moments as well. The employees at the tree farm were awesome secondary characters that added a warm feeling to the story. 

10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars

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About the Author:

Coming from a background in computer game design, Eli has written over 50 books in m/m romance since 2013. The Mating of Michael (2014) and A Second Harvest (2016) both won The William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance, and Eli’s books have won many awards from the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Reader’s Choice Awards. She is best known for her Christmas romances, the Howl at the Moon series of rom coms featuring dog shifters, and the Nerds Vs Jocks series, co-written with Tara Lain.

Connect with Eli: www.elieaston.com Facebook: Eli Easton Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/164054884188096 Twitter: @elieaston


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