Book Review – Heart of the Holidays by Pat Henshaw

Publisher: JMS Books
Pages: 60
Characters: Dan/Rick
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Everyone hopes his road to happily ever after will be carefree and smooth, but too often hair-pin turns and detours seem to get in the way.

Having thought he was on the road to forever before, former Silicon Valley programmer Dan Lassiter is leery about pedaling down it again. His elderly companion Charlie urges him to get to know Rick Reardon whose bakery is across the street from Dan’s bicycle shop.

Under the watchful eye of Charlie, Dan and Rick take tentative steps toward each other, all the while trying to avoid potholes such as exes, homophobes, and family problems.

As summer turns to fall and then winter, they hope that the road will be smooth going from their first date and first kiss to having what Rick’s sister euphemistically calls their “sleepovers.” At each step, though, they are tripped up and wonder why there seem to be so many bumps in their road.

Maybe Dan and Rick should heed some of Charlie’s sage advice, or maybe they should listen to their hearts instead of the ghosts from their pasts.

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I enjoyed this sweet romance about two men getting to know, and falling for, each other in a small town. Although I figured out who exactly Charlie was early on in the story, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I loved how his presence was a constant throughout, and the effect he had on everyone he met.

Both Dan and Rick are likeable guys, ready to go out of their way to help others. I liked how Dan used his IT skills to add tracking and alarms to the bikes he loans—very clever.

This had a wonderful small town feel to it, with the community playing their part, from the owners of Andy/Lucy, and Rick’s sister, Patty, and her children. I loved the name of the town—Sidetrack—and thought it worked on several levels. I liked how Dan and Rick dealt with the hurdles in their way, and shook my head on their behalf in regard to some of the attitudes they encounter when trying to do something nice for the people in their community. Rick’s mother is not a nice person, kudos for Patty and Rick turning out like they have, given growing up with that.

I thought the ending was very sweet and totally the HEA these guys deserve.

4 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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2 Responses to Book Review – Heart of the Holidays by Pat Henshaw

  1. phenshaw says:

    Thank you for this lovely review, Anne! Hope your holidays were extra special this year. Please stay safe and healthy going into 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

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