Book Review – Aunt Adeline’s Bequest by Amy Rae Durreson

A Valentine Rainbow Holiday Story
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 36
Characters: Valentine/Jasper
POV: 3rd
Genre: Historical

One snowy evening, wounded WWI veteran Jasper Pritchard arrives at Valentine Nugent’s sweet shop with an unusual request. Jasper’s deceased great-aunt has left him a fortune, along with a box of indiscreet letters she wants returned to the writer, and the only clue is a tin sold in Valentine’s shop over twenty years ago. As they search the shop’s records and uncover a love story from long ago, they find far more than the answer to the mystery.

A part of the “A Valentine Rainbow” set of 14 holiday stories.

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I love historical stories set post WWI, and this didn’t disappoint. Although it’s a sweet romance, the consequences of the war aren’t glossed over, and I really felt for Jasper and how he was afraid to let Valentine see how damaged he is. I liked how Valentine saw past Jasper’s scars to the man. Both men’s emotions are well written, and realistic. Their intimacy is beautifully written, and a perfect reflection of their setting.

Being gay in this time period isn’t easy, and I loved how Adeline’s bequest isn’t all it appears to be. I enjoy stories which have a sense of past and present about them with the past having consequences for the future, often in a good way.

Although this is a short story, it has a lot of depth in storytelling and characterization. This isn’t the first story I’ve read by this author, and I have yet to find one I didn’t enjoy.

I’d recommend Aunt Adeline’s Bequest to readers who enjoy satisfying historical short stories which are a mix of sweet but also reflect the time period in which they’re set, and how a war affects those who survive it. 5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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