Review: Aidee Ladnier – A Hundred Promises of Love

Author: Aidee Ladnier
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: Mm Holiday

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary: For Ethan and Nico, a broken millefiori ornament is more than a few shards of glass–it’s a chance at finding love at Christmas.

Ethan Carson wants to treat his mother to the perfect Christmas while she’s visiting over the holidays. He’s spent all his savings on presents and bought an enormous tree that takes up half his living room. But when he starts to trim the tree with the family heirloom decorations, he finds her favorite ornament, the one his late father bought on their honeymoon, is broken.

Glassblower Nico Kazan doesn’t celebrate Christmas – unless you count trying to sell the art glass in his gallery to holiday shoppers. When Ethan, the object of his secret crush, asks him to recreate a broken Murano ball, he knows it will take more than his skill and time. Can he risk his heart to give Ethan back a symbol of love and family for Christmas?

Review: Ethan lost his father and is so close to his mother but doesn’t live near her anymore. He wants to give her the best Christmas possible when she comes to visit. He has a huge tree, decorations, plans to explore Nashville and a wonderful Christmas dinner. The problem comes when he opens the box of decorations to find that the heirloom Murano ornament his father gave his mother on their honeymoon, “How his dad had told her he would love her a year for every tiny flower on the ornament”, has been smashed beyond repair. Ethan is devastated. He remembers, however, that his huge crush, Nico, is a glassblower and maybe can fix it.

Nico frequents the coffee shop where Ethan is a barista and also has a crush but is incapable of asking Ethan out. He just freezes. “Nico stood frozen. He should do it now. He should ask.” And of course he doesn’t. “Nico spun around and slammed open the jingling shop door as he left.” He isn’t a jerk, really, he just has some really heavy baggage.

Well, he is sort of a jerk when Ethan goes to him for help with the Murano. He quotes an exorbitant price, which Ethan agrees to although he will need to make payment. Ethan is adorable. He brings Christmas cheer to the glass shop, funny cards, coffee, little gifts for not only Nico but his employees, Glenn and Paula. They think Nico should get out there but it’s hard for him.

Even as Nico and Ethan grow closer and Ethan tries to bring joy into Nico’s life, Nico keeps him very arms length (despite the sex). He makes excuses to avoid going places other than bed with Ethan and sometimes is rude. “For all I know, he just trying to get a discount on that b**ch of an ornament we’ve spent a week making cane for.” That is an insult to Ethan. Despite it all, it wasn’t until Ethan goes to the shop needing him after a talk with his mom and Nico is his usual push-away self that I really wanted to smack him. And it wasn’t until then that Nico realized what he was doing.

While not a terribly sweet story, it was holiday all the way and was very hopeful.

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