The Healing Power of Eggnog (Heartwarming), Jamie Fessenden

The Healing Power of EggnogRating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Christmas, HFN, Short Story

Length: 68 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Dreamspinner Press,



Official Blurb:

Will Sutherland hasn’t been home to see his parents in four years—not since they reacted badly when he came out. This Christmas, he’s finally worked up the courage to go home, where he’s surprised to find they’ve taken in a boarder. Ryan Bennett is just a couple years younger than Will, cute, sweet… and openly gay. 

As Will deals with his jealousy of the man who’s been receiving the love and acceptance he was denied, Ryan finds himself falling for Will’s brooding good looks. But Ryan also suspects the Sutherlands may be using him as a pawn in their long-standing conflict with their son. Will this Christmas finally tear the family apart, or is there a chance they can put their hurt and anger behind them?


Will left his parent’s home four years ago when they handled his coming out badly. He went to college and never came back. It takes a little while into the story before the reader is privy to the circumstances behind his leaving home but when they do eventually come out, it’s obvious that Will had every right to do what he did.

Will has ignored holiday invitations for four years and finally decides to accept one. He arrives at the bus terminal only to be picked up by Ryan, a total stranger, instead of either of his parents. It turns out that Ryan is gay and had been kicked out of his own parents’ home when he came out two years prior. Will’s parents took him in. Will is understandably confused and quite angry, and with good reason. His parents treated him horribly when he came out but yet they take in a gay man? A gay man who obviously thinks that Will has the greatest parents in the world.

I want to state early on that I did not like Will’s parents regardless of how they appeared later. They took Ryan in when his parents kicked him out and this is an admirable thing. However, I didn’t quite buy their reasoning for it or their change toward their son later.

Poor Ryan. He was honest and open, and he’d fallen for the facade.  He’d moved in with the perfect parents. But really, Will knew, he’d moved in with the best liars in Plainfield.

He didn’t blame Ryan. He really didn’t seem to know they were using him.

Will’s resentment over the entire situation is understandable but he only comes across as a little rude early on. He and Ryan quickly become friends so the anger toward his parents is not taken out on Ryan, who doesn’t the circumstances of Will’s anger. He is (early on) convinced that Will did something wrong, not his parents. I say they become friends but it is really much more than that. This is a pretty big case of insta-love and I’ve seen other reviews that stated how the reviewers thought that was a bit much. I agree – in a sense. It did happen too fast but yet it seemed right with these two guys. Also, the story is quite short so I prefer seeing something more real happen early than for it to occur rush, rush at the end.

There is a bit of awkwardness with Will’s parents and jealousy on Will’s part over them treating Ryan the way they should have treated their own son when he was Ryan’s age. Everything does come to a head and when it does, I was happy for the most part. I do, however, feel that the forgiveness was given a bit too easily but that’s just me. I tried to take a step back to remember that Will had been out of their lives for four years and that it was time. I guess as a parent I had an issue with anyone treating their child the way they did so I had a difficult time reconciling them from those days in the past to the present.

Will and Ryan almost instantly become a couple and I didn’t mind it at all. Normally I balk at the insta-love story line but like I said before, I think it worked for these guys. Ryan is innocent and has only seen the good of Will’s parents. When it all came out in the open, I was very pleased with his reaction. Not only did the story hit home for him but he was angry on Will’s behalf. It was nice watching him take a chance of losing the only home he knew by standing up to them.

Overall, a very good short story. Will came across as a jerk a little in the beginning but who could blame him? Ryan, I loved instantly, and that didn’t change as the story played out. I tried to like Will’s parents but I just couldn’t. I felt their reasons for bringing Ryan into their home were only to assuage their guilt for the way they treated their son. While it was good for Ryan, it was also very hurtful to him, not to mention how bad it hurt Will. Everything ends nicely and of the few Advent shorts I’ve read to date, this is one where I can see the couple really having a HEA.


This short story was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Kazza K

Oooh, I wanted to slap Will’s parents after reading your review and the premise. Nice review, Cindi. I like insta-love at times, when it is done right. 🙂