Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Guild Review Team
A charming, straightforward romantic novella with an unlikely plot arc: finding Bigfoot.
Right off, Fessenden’s clean, economical style is a pleasure to read. Stuart is contentedly living in an isolated New Hampshire house, writing romance novels under a female nom de plume. What he doesn’t expect is to be chased through the woods in his bathrobe by an unidentifiable creature in the middle of the night. Nor does he expect to crash headlong into a handsome forest ranger who spends his vacation hunting for the very creatures Stuart is running from.
The awkward initial interaction between Stuart and Jake is believable and well drawn. Stuart doesn’t mind being alone, and the bisexual Jake has never seen himself in a longterm relationship with a man.
But Bigfoot brings them together, so to speak.
Fessenden sticks to what he knows, and the resultant effortless realism of his prose anchors the book nicely in a world to which the reader can relate. The same is true for the emerging relationship between the two protagonists, and also—oddly enough—for the plotline related to the mysterious bipedal creatures that inadvertently cause their meeting.
The problem here is one of scale. Novellas need to be concise, but Fessenden has created both characters who intrigue us and a story worthy of greater expansion than the pages allowed can accommodate. I simply didn’t feel that I got enough of either Stuart or Jake—not enough back story, not enough of their shared story as they get to know each other. Even falling in love quickly takes some space on the page, and I just never quite felt satisfied with what Fessenden was willing to give us.
Similarly, I was fascinated by this spin on the eye-rolling premise of Bigfoot hunters, which somehow makes the idea both plausible and—seriously—touching. I was getting a sort of warm Jane Goodall feeling about Jake and Stuart and the hairy guys in the woods. There’s a back story here as well, through the man who owned the house before Stuart, and the author could really have expanded this part of the narrative into something important, if only he had developed a full novel.
There’s nothing wrong with this book, nothing at all. There’s just not enough of it.