Review - "Home and Heart" by Chris Quinton
Warm Holiday Tale
Ben is a homesitter, taking on assignments for Home-Safe to earn money while he saves up enough to go back to University to get his Masters in Psychology. This ten week assignment for the crotchety old Ms. Bonney, while she recuperates from surgery and takes a nice cruise will allow him some breathing room. And he gets to dog sit. But he is warned, no shenanigans with loose women - like that will be an issue.
Adam is Ms. Bonney's grandson. He has lost his business, his lover, and, he thinks, his family. After sleeping in his car for the past four days, taking a chance on asking his grandmother for help is looking like a better and better idea. But will she turn her back on him again?
When Adam shows up at Ms. Bonney's door, he meets Ben. Will the initial attraction win out, or will Adam's irritation and temper?
There is an easiness and sweetness to Ms. Quinton's writing that draws me in and makes me care about these two very different men. Where Ben is all glass-half-full, Adam is rough edges and elbows and angles. Ben has been to college, ha family that is willing to help him out, has a plan for the future, and is looking for that one man to complete his life. Adam, as we see, has a much rougher backstory, and sometimes is his own worst enemy.. But what I really like about these two characters - they are realistic, behave as real men would, want something more than sex, and, eventually, act to get it.
The integrity in the two men shows up in the writing also. Ben refuses to compromise this promises to Ms. Bonney. Adam refuses to allow to allow Peter, the ex he runs away from, to run his business or his love life. Neither settle. And Ms. Quinton structures this charming story simply - boy meets boy and they fall in love - and sticks with it in tone, language and feel. A small English town as the setting, Christmas the time of year, and two characters who play off of each other so well. It is wonderful when a writer commits to an idea, sets the stage, then spins out a yarn that wraps around you like a warm blanket in front of the fire on a cold winter's night.
What better present to have under the tree than this quiet gem of a story from a writer who knows what she is doing. Happy holidays to you too, Ms.Quinton.
Hot chocolate for the soul.