Felix Gagnon is tired of being alone.
Working as a home care nurse, Felix has known a lot of people, but none of them are quite like Danya Marunchak. A queen from the old days, he is a font of knowledge about what it was like to grow up gay in his time. He’s feisty but in a loveable sort of way. Danya lost his husband Hans several years ago, but still wants to live life to the fullest, even if he isn’t physically able to do so.
Felix is reminded of the fact that he’s been alone too long. He has no one to miss him, no one to miss. To make matters worse, he’s been invited to the wedding of his friends Ru and Michael, just another reminder of the fact that he’s single. Felix tries to tell himself that it doesn’t matter, that he doesn’t mind, but the truth is that he does.
With the wisdom that comes from living a long life, Danya tells him to try and be impulsive, something that Felix is completely unfamiliar with. When he spots a gorgeous man with hazel eyes named Kevin at Ru and Michael’s wedding, he decides to be impulsive and ask Keven to dance. There is attraction there and Felix thinks it mutual, but someone else asks Kevin to dance and the moment is gone.
Taking Danya’s advice to heart, Felix books a trip to Hawaii over the Christmas holidays. While trying to get to his connecting flight, a snowstorm hits and he’s not able to fly out of Toronto. He spots Kevin and in another spurt of impulsivity, invites him to ride along as he drives to Toronto to catch his flight. Keven agrees and they are only part way to Toronto when they realize that the snowstorm is too much.
They stop and rent a log cabin to try and wait out the storm. Now Felix is stuck with Kevin and the sight of Kevin’s perfect chest in a tight t-shirt. Felix tells himself that it will be okay. He’s alone with a man that he’s attracted to in a log cabin. That’s pretty impulsive, right?
What could possibly go wrong?
My meagre plot summary doesn’t do this novella justice. It doesn’t capture the heart that beats within the words, the characters that live off the page, the storylines that pluck at the heart and evoke emotion. I wait every year for Burgoine’s holiday novella set in the village. It’s how I know that the holiday season has really begun.
Told in present and past storylines, we learn so much about Felix and his relationship with Danya. Though you’re rooting for Felix and Kevin to end up together and the other misfits make appearances, it’s the relationship between nurse and patient that’s really the backbone of this book. Burgoine shows how a relationship can become a friendship, no matter how many years there are between people. Indeed, Danya is like the wise old sense, albeit with a salty mouth and the gorgeous flair of an aged drag queen. Danya is fabulous, there’s no other word for him.
Burgoine manages to make all of his characters shine so brightly, whether they are the main or secondary character. He creates characters that you know completely by the time the book is done and you consider them among your friends. At least I do.
‘Nathan’s makes the magic happen, pure and simple. As the storylines flip back and forth, as Felix and Kevin’s lives intertwine, I was filled with hope. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? The light of hope that can fill the world and our hearts. ‘Nathan Burgoine brings that light to life in Felix Navidad and my life is richer for it.
Now, my Christmas season can begin…