Book Review – Winter Solstice in St. Nacho’s by Z.A. Maxfield

St. Nacho’s #5
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 296
Characters: Luke/Tug
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, series

Can a winter solstice miracle bring Luke and Tug a second chance at love, or will Tug’s dangerous addiction destroy their happiness forever?

Librarian Luke believes “Everything is possible at the library.” He cheerfully provides his patrons with whatever they need, even if that means administering Naloxone when they overdose in the library bathroom.

Tug’s a heroin addict. He’s in the grip of a powerful addiction. He has no self-esteem. He sees no way out. When old crush Luke offers help, Tug’s willing to see what he can get out of the deal. But there’s a terrible cost to exploring his painful past and claiming his second chance.

Miracles happen for the men of St. Nacho’s. Will Tug seize a new life and the chance to be with Luke? Or will he give in to the siren’s song of a drug he can’t resist?

Z.A. Maxfield pens a taut and tender second chance gay romance novella. If you believe a good man can find love even on the darkest, longest night, buy “Winter Solstice in St. Nacho’s” for an HFN you will believe in today.

Buy Link


I’m already a huge fan of this author and St.Nacho’s. I loved Luke and Tug’s story, which is very much a story about addiction and the difficult road to recovery. Although this does stand alone, Tug makes his first appearance in A Much Younger Man in the Men of St. Nacho’s series, and I thought reading that one first—also a fabulous read—set the scene for how far Tug had fallen. I liked how this was written firstly in Luke’s POV, and then also in Tug’s via his journal entries.

I loved Luke immediately. Not just because he’s a librarian, but that he’s wonderfully geeky. His library stories felt very realistic, and were often fun, and he’s very much in the occupation he’s meant to be in. I enjoyed the history between his family and Tug’s, and the insight into Tug’s background. It’s not surprising he turned to drugs to find comfort etc. I liked Luke and Tug together, and how Luke has to consciously step back from the fine line between being supportive and enabling. As Tug sobers, their conversation becomes lighter, and more fun, as they both realise the depth of the attraction between them. I loved the banter about vanilla not being plain.

I liked how this story doesn’t sugar coat how bad withdrawal is, and doesn’t pull punches in showing how harsh it is, not only on the person going through it but the people who care about them.

Luke’s family totally rocks. The love they have for each other is palatable, and I love the caring family vibe in the scenes they share. It’s no wonder Luke has turned out the way he is. That goes for Echo and her wife Gayle too. I wasn’t surprised that Luke’s parents emotionally adopt Tug, and are very supportive. And that they own a comics shop is totally awesome.

St. Nacho’s is the wonderful, magical place it is in the other stories in the stories. I liked how Minerva put it into words, and how the town captures Luke, and it’s not just because Tug goes there to put things right with Beck. I enjoyed seeing the other characters from previous stories from Luke’s perspective, and how this fit within their timeline too.

Although this story is very much about Tug’s journey, it’s also Luke’s finding where he’s meant to be, and who he’s meant to be with. As with all the stories in this world, I found it a very satisfying, emotional read, and I look forward to visiting St. Nacho’s again.

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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