Author: Joanna Chambers
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Release Date: 19th November 2015
(ARC provided by the Author in exchange for an honest review)
Typically, I’m anti-holiday books in general, and anti-holiday romances in particular. The stories set around the Christmas season are mostly unbearably mushy and syrupy enough to cause instant dental caries. I hate them just as much as I hate Brussels sprouts, Christmas pudding and shopping on Boxing Day. I’m firmly amongst those, who root for Grinch in his adorably grumpy, mean-spirited Christmas stealing phase, when he gives the two finger salute to Christmas. Go Grinch!
There is one exception. I love A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Isn’t it just an absolute masterpiece? The timeless quality and attractiveness of this story has been validated by the infinite number of times it has been re-worked – there are dozens of film adaptations, spin-offs and book re-tellings out there.
Joanna Chambers’ Humbug is yet another twist on Scrooge, cleverly woven around this classic. It is a contemporary M/M novella, set in London and partly in the corporate office environment. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this endearing story of hope and turnaround.
Quin. What a sour-faced, career-obsessed, stonehearted sonofabitch, blind and oblivious to everything that is not work. A horrible boyfriend, a terrible friend and an awful boss. And then, there’s Rob. Aww. Every household should come equipped with one. Hot, open, reliable, cheerful, supportive and loving. Rob puts Quin on the right track and saves his soul. He is the reason behind Quin’s decision to stop mindlessly wasting time and to start investing in people, feelings and future, rather than projects, carpal tunnel and haemorrhoids.
I need to remark on the quality of the language briefly. I usually read a lot of American authors, whose writing I thoroughly enjoy, however, it was a treat to feast upon a story written in articulate and crisp British English – familiar and natural sounding.
Humbug is a charming, emotion inducing – but not vulgarly sappy – novella, crowned with a blood pressure raising sex scene and an uplifting finale, demonstrating the power of love. This story resembles a jumper knitted out of super fine Shetland yarn – coarse and uncomfortable at first, but after a while – deliciously warming and soothing. I’m not saying I’ll be reaching for another Christmas romance anytime soon, but I’m definitely pleased I offered to review this pleasurable and highly recommended read. Solid four feet from me.