August 1939. Roger Miller and Jack O’Brien have been close since childhood. By the time they realize there’s more between them than friendship, Jack is leaving their sleepy Iowa town for college. But they console themselves knowing he’ll be home for Christmas. Right?
It is Christmas before they see each other again, but that Christmas comes six years and a world war later. Aged, beaten, and shaken by combat, they’re not the boys they were back then, but their feelings for each other are stronger than ever.
Neither know the words to say everything they’ve carried since that peacetime summer kiss, though. Even as they stand in the same room, there’s a thousand miles between them.
But maybe that’s some distance the little angel in Roger’s rucksack can cross.
The Christmas Angel series books are standalones and can be read in any order.
Our bewitched beauty takes us to the post-war era this time around and leave it to Witt to powerpack some extra feels. Roger and Jack have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Suddenly, the boys are whisked off to war and return very different men. Carefree grins and the invincibility that only young men boast have been replaced with dim half-smiles and nightmare shadows of piercing reality. Before they parted six years ago, they shared a stupendous farewell. A courageous kiss threw them both off kilter. Regardless of the timing, both clung to the hope and prayer that they may find their way to each other once more. And when the heavens above grant this wish, they are stricken to find they have become strangers. Everything has changed since that fated swimming hole goodbye. Or has it? Could their burning core remain once they break free from their combat-callused shells?
We are introduced to Roger and Jack just as they are finishing school and spreading their wings. I’m so grateful we had the chance to see them glittering with innocent sparks. Witt allows each of them to take turns in sharing their story and again, I was thankful for the alternating voices. Roger starts back at that pivotal moment when he’s struck with painful clarity, realizing he loves Jack. Then Jack continues on, half a dozen years later once they both have returned home. Their time at war may be over but the lingering effects will never cease. The scars they bear may not be visible but they are no less harrowing.
Although the pages are just over a hundred, I felt we had plenty of time to get to know to both men. Roger was slightly more reserved compared to Jack’s wild nature but I enjoyed them equally. It was difficult to see them hardened from war. Roger’s family means well, but they have made arrangements for him to begin the next phase of his life. With a slight push and shove, they’ve set him up with a could-be–hopefully-fiancé childhood friend. It makes sense for him to marry. It’s what’s expected of them. But the war has given Roger an up close and personal reminder that life is too short for regrets. And he may not have given his best friend his heart before the war but he’ll be damned if he denies him now. But they could never be? What will they do? Marry and live half a life with the picture-perfect wife? You’ll just have to find out, now, won’t you?
In regards to the others in the series, this one is pleasant yet tinged with melancholy. They illustrate the struggles and anguish our soldiers endure long after their leave is over. They also remind of us of the torment gay men faced living and loving freely in the 1940s. Graciously, the glorious gift that a wooden statuette grants these two men is worth it all.
If you need another reason to start this series, this one is a humdinger. I actually began the series with this homecoming. You can hop, skip and jump around if you like. So far, I’ve yet to be disappointed.
Title: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4)
Author: L.A. Witt
Length: 113 Pages
Release Date: December 2, 2018
Buy Link: Amazon