Book Review – The Christmas Tenor by V.L. Locey

Laurel Holidays #3
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 146
Characters: Cabriolet/Julian
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Series

A trip that he thought would bring him only pain is about to present him with the greatest gift of all.

For three years now, Cabriolet Vermat has put off, wiggled out of, and outright lied to get out of making this dreaded trip east. The owner of Cabriolet Chauffeur Services in Los Angeles has avoided the yearly invitation to the small town of White Bridge, New York, to speak at their alumni winter gathering but this year they’ve outfoxed him. They’re throwing a dinner to honor his late partner’s dedication to his alma mater and have asked Cab to speak. This time he has to go no matter how much pain it will stir up. Arriving in the picturesque small town beside one of the Finger Lakes, Cab is treated to a special performance of holiday songs and there he sees Julian Gabriel Baez for the first time.

The young singer captivates him immediately, and he finds himself seeking out the much younger man after the performance. The pull he feels toward Jules is unlike anything he’s felt since he met his partner years ago. Confusion and desire war within him, but the outgoing young tenor wins him over with his engaging smile and kind heart. A two-day trip soon turns into an extended holiday vacation. Cab worries that the magic of Christmas will quickly fizzle out and he’ll be alone once more. Or will this festive season bestow a blessing of the heart upon a man who thought he would never love again?

The Christmas Tenor is a standalone small-town gay Christmas romance with a beautiful May-December relationship, a lonely widower, a rising opera star, loving families, and plenty of holiday joy.

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I loved this story, and its May-December, opposites attract, relationship. Family also plays a huge part in Cab and Julian’s story, and I particularly liked Cab’s sibling relationship with his twin brother, Pierre. The inclusion of music in the storyline was an added bonus.

I like stories with older characters who have had some life experience. I loved how Cab, who is still grieving his late husband, is instantly drawn to Julian, and how their relationship is good for both of them. Julian is much younger but he knows what and who he wants and goes for it. I like that he’s looking for someone who is an equal, and will let him follow his dreams.

I enjoyed the insight into the world of opera. It’s obvious the author has done her research. The supporting cast is great, in particular Pierre who encourages Cab to stop grieving and live his life. The family vibe with Jules’ family is wonderful, and I love how they include Cab and Pierre in their Christmas celebrations. On the flip side, the twins’ mother is horrible, and I really felt for both of them, but especially Pierre. I loved how opposite in personality etc Cab and Pierre are. Cab is more cautious and introvert while Pierre is full of life and grabs every opportunity to live it to the full. I liked that Carter, Cab’s late husband, is very much a part of the story, with Cab’s memories, and meeting Carter’s friends.

The lovely family-filled HEA is perfect.

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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