Reviewed by: Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Guild Review Team
What a nice twist on holiday romance! Jamie Fessenden takes us in a very different direction from the usual Christmas story, deep into the Swedish folklore of tomtar, the house spirits who guard a farmstead and protect the descendants of the builder. Fessenden takes full advantage of the tomte link to Swedish elven lore, and from there builds a fantasy world into which Ryan Anderson is drawn by the beautiful Tomte.
Ryan has long suffered from feelings of loss and displacement, which ultimately becomes too much for him to bear. Recovering from a suicide attempt, he goes to visit his brother Alex and niece Julia for Christmas in New Hampshire, not far from the farm built by their Swedish immigrant ancestors in the early 18th century. There he meets Tomte, a puzzling, alluring young man who throws the whole Anderson family into a state of alarm, and triggers long-forgotten memories in Ryan.
There is a marvelous, gentle sense of bemusement and wonder in the first part of this story, which then settles into a slightly more typical magical adventure tale (if such a thing can be typical). With every page the author takes us deeper into Ryan’s history and Tomte’s truth, ultimately setting the characters and the reader up for a twist that is as unexpected as it is marvelously clever.
For Ryan and Tomte, love may be a curse, but it is also the key.