Title: I Don’t: A Christmas Wish
Author: Kari Gregg
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Publisher: Self Published
Buy Link: Buy Link I Don’t: A Christmas Wish
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Sometimes love and marriage don’t always add up to a happily ever after without some serious soul-searching first.
Blurb: At least he isn’t pregnant.
Seth Murphy campaigned for Maryland’s Question Six, wildly celebrating the Election Day victory for marriage equality. Divorce attorney and live-in boyfriend Owen, however, believes just as passionately that the gay community should focus on a plurality of equal rights protections instead of allocating so many resources and man-hours to one hot button issue.
Owen won’t marry Seth.
Relationship deteriorating, the couple visits the Murphy farm outside Brunswick for Christmas. Seth’s family never considered that Seth and Owen wouldn’t be first in line for a marriage license as soon as same-sex marriage passed. When they find out there won’t be a wedding, their season of miracles is invaded by pornographic gingerbread cookies, frowning church ladies, and a determined father with a tactical assault shotgun.
Neither Seth, Owen, nor their love may survive the family holiday circus to say, “I don’t.”
Review: I could leave the quote below and say nothing more about this novella….I could, but I won’t. (Had you worried for a minute didn’t I?) But here–you deserve to hear this lovely quote from author Kari Gregg’s sweet little novella I Don’t: A Christmas Wish. Enjoy!
“That’s my Christmas wish, the gift I would wrap in a box with ribbons and bows for you and leave under the tree if I could: that you’d trust in us.”
Love…it really does come down to trust does it not? Loosening that hold on our hearts and allowing someone else to carry them for a while–hold us for a while. Yes, it requires a lot of determination to say, ‘you can have me–I am okay with that–with you taking up residence in my heart’.
Owen wants that kind of relationship with Seth but he knows his young partner is not yet there and worries that he will lose the man he loves. And the hell of it is that Owen and Seth are finally able to get legally married in the state of Maryland but unfortunately Owen does not want to–and that fact is gutting poor Seth.
In reality, Owen’s lack of enthusiasm for “that piece of paper” actually becomes the impetus that forces Seth to look more closely at himself–and what he sees leaves him cold. Seth’s despair-his anger does not really stem from Owen’s refusal to marry; instead, it is the revelation that Seth, himself, does not trust Owen, has never fully trusted his partner and, in fact, has spent a considerable amount of time pushing the man he loves away.
It is a lack of trust that is fueling Seth’s unhappiness, not a lack of marriage license. And while his family is pushing at Owen to man up and marry their son, Seth realizes that it is he who must first change in order for any long term partnership to work.
Pretty heavy stuff for the ho ho ho-ing season eh? Well…yes and no. Actually author Kari Gregg has presented us with a thoughtful glimpse at what happens to a couple when the foundation of their relationship is built on a less than firm foundation. And she does it well. Seth comes alive in this novella. You can map the direction of his heart and almost hear him speaking in your ear.
Ms. Gregg gives this character a rich life that flies off the page and straight into your mind and heart. His family is quirky and sweet, particularly his parents. You feel the warmth of their home and the depth of love they have for their son. This is a family that loves fiercely and for keeps.
Unfortunately, she does not do the same thing with Owen. I found myself scratching my head at this character. I never fully understood his complete reasoning for saying no to marriage with Seth and so, in due course, I was certainly a bit dumbfounded at his recapitulation near the end of the story. I liked Owen–but I barely knew him and that left me fairly unsatisfied with what I now considered an uneven story that simply did not spend enough time fully developing the two man characters.
I just needed a bit more–a bit more of Owen–of getting to know him and what made him tick. So, this novella? It is a nice seasonal offering by a very gifted writer. I just felt it needed to be a bit longer with more time spent on getting to know both these men.
However, dear reader, I leave this decision up to you. I Don’t: A Christmas Wish may be just the ticket to ensure you have a happy holiday this year.
Oh–and for those who celebrate–Merry Christmas from my house to yours!