When Will comes home to small-town Washington for his family’s solstice celebration, he expects to feel out of place. A trans man in a coven of witches, he’s never felt the magic his family feels. Things change, however, when he runs into an old classmate from high school. Bea sees Will in a way very few people from his hometown do, and more than that, she believes in his magic. These two grow closer over the holidays, and learn to lean on each other in the face of family prejudices and expectations, but when the holiday is over, what will happen to their budding relationship? A funny, intriguing, and sometimes bittersweet story about finding people who see the real you in a world that isn’t made for you.
Thoughts and Themes: I always forget how much I really do enjoy short stories/novellas and am very pleased when I get the chance to read one. This one was great and is definitely one that I am adding to the list of things to re-read. It’s one that was rough at the start but as it goes on and when it ends left me with a lot of hope.
I really liked the premise of this story and how the coven has no boys in the past eighty years and how our main character is the first boy and even then it wasn’t until later in life that he recognized that he is Trans. I like how this plays out for Will’s family members and how they respond to him as well as how other town people respond to him. I also like how Will points out the way his family accepts woman loving woman but not him being Trans.
Characters: In this book you are introduced to the main character, Will and the love interest, Bea. Along the way you do get a chance to meet some of their family members but very briefly. While they were a lot during the brief moments they were introduced, I did enjoy that we got to meet ‘s family because it shows a lot of why he responds the way he does.
I really enjoyed the romance that happens in this story and how Bea helps Will learn to love himself despite his family. I also like how this develops and how Will is quick to dismiss Bea at first because of them being in two different places geographically. I like that we get to see him struggle with her not being ready to leave behind all she has known.
Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Will which is something that I really enjoy especially when the conflict arises. I liked that we only get to see things from Will’s point of view and we don’t know how others are feeling. I thought this was especially important regarding his family and their feelings about him being Trans and leaving them. I thought it was great that we don’t get to see this because their feelings in the long run didn’t matter.
Alec lives in the Pacific Northwest, where they write romantic adult fantasy and self-indulgent fanfiction. They make candles inspired by their favorite characters.
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Titles by Alec J. Marsh:
Anthologies including Alec J. Marsh:
- She Wears the Midnight Crown (contributor) (Coming to our website March 15th, 2023!)