Friday, December 23, 2016
Santa Baby by Heidi Cullinan
Minnesota Christmas - Book 4
The last of my Christmas reads - I saved the best 'til last. As you might know already, Heidi is one of my favourite authors and I adored the first 3 Minnesota Christmas books, so I was very much looking forward to my read.
Santa Baby is a little more serious than the first three books and it didn't seem to me to be quite as 'Christmas Focused' as the others. Part of that might have been that it starts one Christmas season and finishes up the next. I also think that part of it was the lack of intimate holiday traditions/scenes between the main characters. I get that these things weren't really part of the story Heidi had to tell, but I missed them.
As advertised, this is a the story of a budding threesome, Arthur and Gabriel, the stars of book 2 and newcomer Dale. I really enjoyed the getting inside of Arthur's thoughts as the love of his life, Gabriel, develops a massive crush on Dale who has come to Logan to help get them on the map, so to speak. It was fascinating to watch as he realised that his Gabriel might be polyamorous and what he, Arthur, needed to do to help and support him. Arthur, is not poly, but he is open. Dale is indeed poly, but desperately needs his 'alone' time. And while Arthur isn't poly, he does, in his own way, fall for Dale and have a desire and a need to have him as 'his' (in a positive way, not a yucky overly possessive way). For the most part, I enjoyed how all this played out, but I couldn't help but feel that somehow, Arthur was doing most of the compromising and bending to make it all work for the three of them. I kinda felt as if he were short-changed somewhere along the line - especially at the end when they have the wedding/ceremony. It came across, to me, that the important thing for Gabriel was the small and privateish ceremony with his shiny new lover, Dale, as opposed to his marriage to Arthur, the supposed love of his life. And also, the giving up of their dream to have a place for foster children felt sad to me, even though there were other things that would be filling that 'hole' in their emotions.
Dale, for his part, has a dark past in which he was abused and used by a 'supposed' lover. I thought this was pretty well done, horrific as it was and decidedly NOT Christmassy. *LOL* But the way that Arthur helped him get through that and come out the other side was fascinating. The only part that bugged me was that it at times felt that Arthur was doing all this to present Gabriel with a lovely and perfect lover with a bow on his head, if you get my drift.
There was one point in the book, in the last quarter, if memory serves, where I felt like I was sitting at a lecture and it was fairly short-lived, so I can't complain. :) I just think there must be a more conversational or convivial or personal way to talk about the challenges facing the queer community that might resonate a little more with a reader?
All that is why this book only gets 4 stars instead of 5. :) It seems like I've been bitching and complaining a lot, but don't be mislead, I really did enjoy this one. :) And Marcus... my lovely Marcus - he and Arthur were, for me, the heroes of the book.