Color of You (Crabbypatty’s Review)

Title: The Color of You
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 25, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3.5 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.

Tall, skinny redhead Bowen is the new music teacher in Lancaster, New Hampshire and he’s a wildly talented musician with sound-to-color synthesia. Basically, his senses are “cross-wired” so he sees sound. “Like fireworks. Explosions of color.” Classic music is white and blue, his bestie Scarlet has a deep pink voice, pop music is lots of pinks and purples, etc. Bowen doesn’t come to town looking for love …

But maybe, somewhere out there, was the man of my dreams. And he couldn’t wait to settle down with a cello-playing, bow-tie-wearing teacher who slathers on SPF50 thoroughly before every outing.

Felix Hansen (“He had this rugged-meets-GQ look […] with a jawline to kill for”) owns an apple orchard in Lancaster (setting of C.S. Poe’s “Joy”) and is a divorced father with a teenage son Alan. When Bowen Merlin meets-cute Felix by spilling apple cider on his coat, Bowen thinks:

His voice sounded like amber. It was glittery and gold and slightly melodic, dancing before my eyes.

What follows is a courtship that beautifully unfolds: Bowen defying society’s expectation that he conform to his “non-alpha-guy appearance” by being very comfortably dominant in the bedroom, while Felix needs “a partner who treats me like an equal but who … respects I’m … passive.” Their sexual chemistry is undeniable and their relationship is easy and very satisfying. My only niggle is we get Bowen’s POV throughout and I would have loved Felix’s POV as well.

The tension and angst in the story comes from homophobes in the school and community that wreak havoc on the two men’s lives. While I madly adored the love story here, the external conflicts didn’t work as well for me, seeming a bit too far-fetched, but I realize that I’m probably in the minority here.

I loved this book in so many ways – the great characters, both primary and secondary, the depth of the relationship between Bowen and Felix, the quaint/quirky small town setting, and the epilogue was perfect. 4.5 stars.

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Advanced Review Copy

Advanced review copy of Color of You provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader