Title: Mending Noel (North Pole City Tales #1)
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: November 18, 2019
Genre(s): Fantasy, Holiday, Christmas, Short Story
Page Count: 64 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
All is not sparkly snowflakes and sweet candy canes in North Pole City. Office workers Tim and Noel do nothing all day but antagonize each other—petty fighting that might be based on hatred… or a heated mutual attraction. It’s up to Jack Frost and his elf-friend Rudy to broach the hostilities and introduce some Christmas kisses, but is the Frost Prince up to the challenge of launching a new romance when someone’s trying to break his holid
This is the first story in a series that re-conceptualises familiar fantasy characters and introduces a number of new ones. Written in the third person it is a multi-perspective tale, mostly centred on the two lead characters. Characterisation is strong with a clear definition of personalities that are both approachable and interesting. The balance here is between a sweet but flawed character and a grumpy superior character, where clearly the aim is to understand what makes him so mean and to soften his disposition and bring them together.
The description of the surroundings is rich for such a short story and this makes it feel more realistic. It provides an ambience that is very appropriate for a seasonal read.
Despite the central characters being quite lowly and ineffectual, they get swept up into a larger scheme that allows for more dominant characters to be introduced. The author does this in such a way that the central characters are not overshadowed but are cherished or act as thorns in the side of the baddies. The plot is not fully revealed in this book as it forms the larger picture in the series as a whole. Consequently, this provides an opening gambit that provides enough to tantalise.
The relationship between the central characters is long-standing but it is clear that the frostiness that currently exists has not always been the case; what changed and when is what is teased out throughout the story. Where the focus of the writing shifts to the grumpy character, it is clear there is confusion. The revelation is interesting and quite clever in resolving the differences.
When the two become close there is effective passion that does not require to be explicit. Nevertheless, there is description of sex. This is done with some delicacy and there is a clear intent to avoid too much detail. This is in keeping with the type of story and fits well.
The story feels longer than it is, but in a good way. The pace of the story is reasonable and there are points at which light tension speeds the read. This is the sort of tale that remains interesting without the need for tension.
The end of the book not only allows for a happily ever after for the central characters but also enriches the larger storyline. This was an enjoyable read and bodes well for the rest of the series.