Title: An Elf to Myself
Author: Emy Calirel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2019
Genre(s): Fantasy, Seasonal, Christmas, Contemporary
Page Count: 36 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2019 Advent Calendar collection Homemade for the Holidays.
The last thing Wilhelm expects to find at Michaels, three days before Christmas and in search of a gift to make for his niece, is one of Santa’s elves—a cute one with a wicked, inappropriate sense of humor and a kinky streak. Alabastair may have been kicked out of Santa’s village, but he’s still a Christmas expert. And he’s determined to give Wilhelm and his family the best holiday he can.
With only two days to turn the Grinch’s house into a Christmassy wonderland, they have a lot on their plate. Among the glitter and the cheer, Wilhelm and Alabastair might find more than just the holiday’s magic. But will it be enough to keep Alabastair in Wilhelm’s bed and life when the North Pole calls him back?
Christmas is supposed to be a time for miracles, this story is a one-sitting opportunity to suspend belief and get swept along by a little hokum. The story is written in the first person with a tense that is in the immediate past; consequently, the reader is reflecting on events as they happen along with the central character. What little we learn of this character is revealed as the story progresses. Not only is the premise of the book fantastical but also the responses of the characters. All act somewhat out of character and in line with the Christmas spirit. This largely works because the reader knows so little about any of them. Settings are similarly touched upon and there is no detailed sense of place. Clearly a city, it could be anywhere. Discussion of Christmas features is interesting in its presentation of normality and rationalisation of the fantastical.
Obviously, with such a short story there is no time to develop a relationship between the central characters and they instantly fall for each other, so much so that they act more like a partnered couple than people who have just met. There is no internal questioning of the logic of this and the central character seems willing to suspend belief on this fairly critical aspect of his life. As the wider history and family dynamics become more clear the reader would normally expect that this would contextualise the story and help them to make sense of what is happening. In this case, it does not and merely adds a little depth to the tale.
As noted, this is really a one-sitting story and the pace reflects this. There is no complexity and the only tension facilitates the closure of the tale.