Title: Hope is a Thing with Feathers (Dreamspinner 2017 Advent Calendar Daily)
Author: Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Holidays
Page Count: 48
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Fifty-six-year-old Samuel Phillips is all alone on his small farm in the Ozarks, with nothing but a menagerie of chickens, pheasants, turkeys, and other birds as company—which is just the way he likes it. In fact, if Samuel had his way, he’d tear down his neighbor’s house so his solitude could be absolute. One day Faloola, his favorite turkey, escapes, forcing Samuel to make the trek next door. When Raymond Webber—sixty-seven—answers the door as naked as the day he was born, Samuel doesn’t know whether he’s more annoyed… or attracted. The two men are opposites in every way—Samuel is serious, while Raymond believes in free love and herbal relaxation. The weeks leading up to Christmas are rocky to say the least, but some holiday spirit might help them get past their differences….
Sigh. Hope is the Thing with Feathers is just your typical story about a missing runaway turkey named Faloola and a 67-year-old hippie who answers the door naked and makes “magic brownies.” Nothing to see here, folks. Well, except for that penis, or as Samuel thinks:
Too much. Too much information. Too much weirdness. Too much penis. God, penis. It had been so long.
Seriously, Brandon Witt’s latest Christmas offering is a beautifully written, charming story of two older men (Kevin Costner look-alike Samuel is 56 and Raymond is 67) set on Missouri farmland outside the small town of El Dorado Springs. Samuel has never left Missouri, except to escape to the “big city” of Joplin when he was 19, returning to live on the family farm, while Raymond has traveled the country in a Winnebago for the past 30 years, 10 of those years with his now-deceased husband Robert.
Raymond believes in the power of the universe to bring the right people together and he’s lived a joyful life. Samuel is a fairly dour man, seemingly comfortable in his loneliness, who dotes on his turkeys, pheasants and fluffy Cochin show chickens (or as Raymond says “It’s like a poodle went to KFC and had an orgy.”) and dreams of getting a brood of Swedish Black hens. And, damn it, Raymond awakens a longing in Samuel:
But, I had to admit, there were times when another body, another male body, would fill an ignored emptiness in me. Just the strum of another soul harmonizing silently with mine.
In doing this review, I just realized that I could write (and write) about this story, which feels amazingly whole and complete at just 48 pages. Witt creates such a depth of character here and sets in motion a relationship between two men who are definitely not perfect, but are perfect for one another. 4.5 stars.
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