Rating: 4 Stars
My Fondness for Lanyon is Die-Hard
Here I am again, reviewing another of Lanyon's novella-length stories and once again, I can't express strongly enough my appreciation for his technical skill, his intelligence and wit with a plot and characters, and his ability to draw me into the world with strong, believable happenstance. And in The Dickens With Love, Lanyon shines especially bright for adding a surprising amount of depth and backstory to the lead character, James Winter. Novella's are often hampered by their very nature, but in this, Lanyon rose above those limitations to provide an exceptionally well rounded character. His romantic lead, a Mr. Sedgwick Crisparkle, was perhaps not quite so fully defined and fleshed out, but was still superior to many two dimensional characters in novella-length stories.
Add in a sweet holiday melancholy and yearnings for respectability once had and now lost and a measure of growth for James' character, and this lovely tale just shines like one of those starburst or starlight drinks Sedge favors so much. Which sounded delicious by the way...if a bit monstrously strong. The "excerpts" from the "Christmas Cake" were charming little surprises that lent an air of reality to the story as well. As I've said in a previous review of a novella-length Lanyon story, the only critique I truly have is that the romantic aspects of this m/m holiday romance don't quite touch me on as deep an emotional level as I'd hoped, but I still believe that's more due to the limiting nature of the length of the story than any failure on Lanyon's part. I admit...I'm cynical and don't believe in love developing within days or hours, so when the story spans such a time, it's hard for me to buy into a love-at-first-Dickens whirlwind romance.
But top-notch storytelling, as always, for Lanyon.