Title: Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
Author: Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Genre(s): Holiday, Contemporary
Page Count: 48
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 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….
I was looking forward to reading this story as it promised to be fun. It’s quirky and unrelentingly cheerful.
Sam’s day starts when one of his turkeys wanders out of its coop. To add insult to injury, it’s freezing outside so now both turkey and Sam are freezing. Sam is not in a good mood when he mets his new neighbor for the first time, and the guy leaves an impression. Sam is a bundle of nerves and is startled to realize that he would like to spend time with Raymond. Hints of his past add flavor to the character. I was cheering for him to stay since I could already see how their rough edges would fit together.
Sadly, it’s not to be as the situation goes downhill. See wandering turkey above and make your own assumptions. It’s an opposite of meet-cute. I wondered how Raymond was going to dig himself out of the hole he was in, and I sympathized with Sam, but I still thought the whole situation was funny.
Shame on me.
Raymond is self-assured and approachable. His sunny attitude is more than a match for his self-deprecating, isolated neighbor. Their banter is quick and funny.
I confess, I had no idea show chickens existed. I’m not even sure I wanted to know black chicken exist: that’s like chicken of death.
The story is told in first POV and without much fanfare shows how Raymond’s arrival changed Sam’s life. He used to be content in his life. Now he knows he can have so much more. People are lost without their dreams. Slow pace really allows for Raymond’s impact on Sam’s life to be seen. The ending is reminiscent of the beginning, in that it made me laugh.
It’s a nice portrayal of building of relationship between two older people who already have lived a good part of their lives but are willing to build and experience something new.
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