Title: Purrfect Holiday (2018 Advent Calendar Daily Warmest Wishes)
Author: Jana Denardo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Page Count: 46
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
Tony Gatti had his life planned: get his veterinarian license and go to work with his dad and uncle. Soon after achieving his goals, he learned the shadows and blurriness in his vision went beyond needing glasses. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic mutation with no cure. With his sight almost gone, he moves into his grandmother’s St. Augustine, Florida, home with his guide dog, Raven, to start life over. Nonna Concetta thinks she knows the perfect job for him. Her vet is looking for someone to de-stress the cats at a local rescue.
Javier didn’t plan to hire a cute former veterinarian to fill the role of cat cuddler, but Tony couldn’t be more perfect. Worried his attraction is inappropriate and knowing the holiday season always depresses him, Javier wonders if he should ask Tony out, or if he’d just be spreading the gloom to someone who already has enough of his own. But if he takes the plunge, could it turn out to be the best holiday ever?
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar “Warmest Wishes.”
Blurb is almost as long as the story so I won’t rehash. Short stories can be difficult to write – the author is working with a set number of words and needs must keep details to a minimum. Ms. Denardo did a splendid job of hitting the emotional aspect for both Tony and Javier and still kept things light and festive.
Bringing up medical issues can be tricky, because there is a fine line with trying to educate the reader while keeping the plot and characters real without sliding into “preachy”. I thought Ms. Denardo did well using Tony as the medium and through him “show, not tell” me about Retinis pigmentosa. A couple times Tony’s character toed the line with getting to in-my-face about it, but Tony’s character was brusk enough that he could pull it off.
My only small complaint would be perhaps between the genetic disorder and Javier being cut off from his family the background/plot came close to being a downer. Fortunately, small kittens, one tolerant seeing-eye dog, Nona and her Feast of Seven Fishes kept this light and purrfect for an after work or a weekend afternoon read during an overly busy time of year.