Title: The Color of You
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 25, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Christmas
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Bowen Merlin— yes, that’s his real name—accepts a position in the quaint town of Lancaster, New Hampshire as the high school band director. He leaves New York City for the snowy countryside of New England just in time for the holidays. With class, homework, after school activities, and a surprise Christmas concert to plan and rehearse, Bowen is plenty busy. And since he’s never had much luck with romance, factoring in time to find Mr. Right isn’t a priority….
Until he meets the proprietor of Snowy Ridge Apple Orchard, Felix Hansen. Suddenly, true love seems like a possibility for the first time in Bowen’s life. The two are a perfect match and fill the skipped beats of each other’s hearts. But as wonderful as Felix seems, he’s harboring scars that could end their budding relationship when someone in town goes to great lengths to sabotage their careers.
If Bowen is to survive the holidays, he’ll need to lean on old friends and new, convince Felix he’s worth any hardship, and prove they can come out of the catastrophe stronger if they do so together.
Bowen. Quirky, fun, a ginger with a tendency to blush furiously. He loves music, teaching, bowties and men who liked to be bossed around in the bedroom. Problem is, men look at him and think he likes to be bossed around.
Felix. Single, ruggedly handsome, father to Alan. Respected in Lancaster, everyone knows he is gay but also known not to date. He’s carrying some scars and past experiences that keep him to himself.
And when Bowen spills hot cider down the front of Felix’s jacket and totally embarrasses himself, you knew this could only end one way.
This was just a pleasure to read. I LOVED the fact that the author has returned to Lancaster, the setting of one of my favorite books, Joy. In Color of You, the story bounces between an apple orchard/Christmas tree farm and teaching at the local elementary and high school – mostly the high school. The author captured the struggle of teaching in a small town so aptly – the grudges, the power trips, teachers multitasking outside of their area of expertise, even lack of a working coffee machine in the teachers lounge nailed what it can be like.
This had the perfect amount of apprehension to balance Bowen’s upbeat quirkiness and Felix’s reluctance to date. Because Bowen is a high school school teacher, you know, at some point, what’s going to happen. How it all played out was perfect for me – just the right amount of angst, upset, and anger.
I did have one small point of contention with Bowen – and I’m basing this off my nearly seven years of participating in band, marching band and concert band, jazz band and wind ensemble. I find it somewhat unlikely that a band teacher would just move students around based on what they hear (yes yes, Bowen has perfect pitch), but rather a student would have to earn the right to have first/second/third chair through challenges. This minimizes potential favoritism on part of the teacher and encourages the kids to work harder. A small quirk, and perhaps other bands directors do exactly as Bowen did, but it was something that struck a slightly off-key chord with me (pun intended).
And my one quirk with any story – I really don’t care for the “Tell All Bestie”. I liked Scarlett just fine, but it grates on my nerves when a friend moves into the “tell me everything!” category.
This was, ultimately, a very enjoyable book with a great set of characters, a solid plot, beautiful setting, and a perfect Christmas ending.