Book Review – The Little Matchboy by Jackie North

An MM Fairytale Romance
Publisher: Blue Rain Press
Pages: 201
Characters: Sean/Roddy
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary, Shared World, Fairytale Retelling

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?

A m/m fairy tale romance retelling of The Little Matchgirl. Includes cameos from Cory and Alex from Hot Chocolate Kisses.

Buy Link


I always know I’m going to get a good read when I pick up a Jackie North book and this was no different. I loved Sean and Roddy’s story and thought the way the author brought it in elements of The Little Matchboy but in a contemporary setting was nicely done. I also liked Alex and Cory, and loved how their part in the story was way more than a cameo.

I also loved the references to other books by this author. I love easter eggs like that.

I thought Roddy and Sean’s friendship and relationship was very sweet. I loved how Sean wants to protect Roddy yet is being very careful not to step over any lines unless Roddy wants to. Roddy’s unsureness whether his attraction to Sean means he’s gay is very endearing.

Princess, Sean’s old Buick, needs a mention too. She’s very much a character in her own right. I thought Bygone Echoes was a very cool name for an antique shop.

Roddy’s father comes across as the total horrible person he is, yet there is a hint that he’s turned away, and to drink because of the way his life has turned out. No excuse! But I thought the author did a great job in showing him as more than just what’s on the surface. It says a lot for Roddy in that he’s survived being with his father for so long.

I loved the family feel, and close friendship between Sean and Alex, and by extension, Cody, and the way they welcomed Roddy into their circle. I liked how Roddy wants to be there for Sean, as well as vice versa. The epilogue was a lovely glimpse into their HEA.

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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