Book Reviews

The Little Matchboy (An MM Fairy Tale Romance) by Jackie North at Blue Rain Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Fairy Tales / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 04-January-2021

Book Blurb

One is a Chicago hoodlum. The other is a young man with an abusive father.

One is not looking for love. The other is lost in a swirl of snow and despair and needs to be found.

Sean is in Harlin to visit a friend and is uncomfortable with the small town vibe. His plan is to head back to Chicago asap, but after he stops a father from beating his son, the young man catches his heart. Should Sean go or should he stay?

Ever since his mom left them, Roddy is overwhelmed by his Dad’s drinking and abuse as he struggles to keep the family shop afloat. When Dad is arrested, Roddy is left on his own.

Will Sean return home? Will Roddy find his way in the snow?

 

Book Review

The retelling of ‘The Little Matchgirl’ (originally a fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen) had me curious how Jackie North would manage to take a tragic tale and make it a more modern, hopefully happier story. Yes, there are elements of hope in the original version, but to me, a little girl dying in the cold because her father is a monster, no matter how happy she is in heaven, is not an enjoyable story. Jackie North has done an excellent job taking parts of the original plot, like the ogre of an abusive father and the freezing cold winter, as background to a modern-day slow-burn romance that had me close to tears more than once.

 

Sean is a tough guy, not given to emotional outbursts, and there are hints of a “dark” past. But he comes to visit his friends in their small-town home and the way they treat him shows that Sean must be a loveable guy underneath his rough exterior. Sean himself doesn’t quite know what to do with all the lovey-dovey stuff between his friends, and the small town and its friendliness has him a little on edge, but there are hints that he likes what he sees from the beginning. Initially he has to stay because his car needs extensive repairs, but once he meets Roddy – well, Sean may not want to admit it, but the “signs” of something more are there from the beginning.

 

Roddy had my sympathy from the start, and I was rooting for him from the moment I met him in chapter two. His mother died three years ago and his father has become despondent, a drunk, and regularly beats the sh*t out of Roddy. The family shop is not doing well, and all of Roddy’s ideas for improvements are brutally rejected by his father. Roddy is incredibly strong, despite his physical frailty due to hunger and standing out in the cold, trying to sell their things. When he meets Sean, who scares him a little due to his physical strength, he is surprised how nice this stranger is to him. A smile, some show of concern for his well-being, and warm food leaves him hopeful that he may have found a friend.

 

When Roddy and Sean first meet there are no immediate sparks – yet their slowly developing love story is no less wonderful because of it. Roddy needs to learn to trust and Sean has to understand that loving someone is a good thing. Sean is very careful not to overstep, even though he wants Roddy to make better decisions, ones that allow him to determine his own fate rather than depending on his father. They have a lot of obstacles to overcome and their journey is not easy, but I enjoyed watching them develop feelings for each other that neither of them expects nor really know what to do with.

 

If you enjoy slow-burn romances, if two men who don’t think they want or deserve love are your thing, and if you’re looking for an emotional, heartwarming story with a wonderful ending, then you might like this novel as much as I do. Recommended for reading at any time of the year!

 

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 201 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-November-2020
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Little-Matchboy-Contemporary-Matchgirl-Retelling-ebook/dp/B08K7XKZ9L