Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Don’t Let the Light Go Out
Author: L.A. Merrill
Series: 2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug
Heroes: Ray & Josiah
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 34 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Ray Fine would like to forget Hanukkah even exists. The holiday holds too many sad memories for the young widower. When he’s paired with new convert Josiah Wilson in a year-long welcoming program at his synagogue, he doesn’t know how he’ll get through eight days of celebration, let alone twelve months of guidance.
Josiah has enough on his plate—school, conversion, the holiday concert season—without becoming someone’s shoulder to cry on. But when he discovers there’s more to his new synagogue buddy’s sadness than a case of the “Hanukkah Blues,” he sets out to show Ray how much there is to live for.
The first blizzard of the season has other plans, though, and Hanukkah might be a lost cause if Ray and Josiah can’t plow through the snow—and their differences. Determined not to lose Ray to his own darkness, Josiah plans to teach him a lesson about the real Miracle of Light—and love.
Since Ray lost his partner, he’s just been going through life not really living, just existing. When his Rabbi lets Ray know they’re bringing back the welcoming program and he’s next up to take on a new converter, Ray’s far from thrilled especially when the man turns out to be extremely persistent. But the more time Ray spends with Josiah, the more he realizes what he’s been missing and when a blizzard threatens to ruin a special night at the synagogue, Ray and Josiah must work together to figure out how to make things work without endangering anyone.
This was a really sweet story. It starts off a little sad with how much grieving Ray is still doing but then picks up once Ray meets Josiah. I liked Ray because he didn’t just get over his late partner, he was still mourning and needed a new reason to start living again. When Josiah shows up, he works his way into making Ray realizes there’s still more to life and I liked that about Josiah. Even though Ray was supposed to be ‘guiding’ Josiah, Josiah was really the one who ended up showing Ray what there was still to live for. It was interesting to see how easily Josiah wormed his way into Ray’s life and how big an impact it made on Ray.
I really enjoyed this story but my issue is that the blurb is a bit misleading. We actually don’t know Josiah’s intentions because we never get his POV so I was a little disappointed with that. The blurb makes it sound like Josiah is the main focus here but it’s Ray that the story revolves around. Sure, there are moments when it’s obvious that Josiah is helping Ray more than Ray is helping Josiah but nothing beyond that. It really bugged me because it took away from Josiah as a character since it didn’t allow us to get to know Josiah aside from when Ray would let himself notice Josiah. Add to that, I really wished we had gotten more things shown instead of told, it took away from the readers ability to see Ray and Josiah getting closer.
In the end, I still really liked this one. I did love the characters especially since Ray is so obviously still mourning his late partner. I miss the fact that we didn’t get more in-depth with Josiah (the blurb leads into more of who he is than the story does IMO) but I liked how the roles were sorta reversed between Ray and Josiah. Definitely give this a go if you’re looking for something with a little angst but a lot of hope.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*