Review: Freddy MacKay – Watermelon Kisses: A Holiday to Remember series

Author: Freddy MacKay
Reviewer: Diane
Publisher: Mischief Corner
Genre: Mm Holiday

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary: Life hasn’t been easy for Amir since he fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment. The trauma experienced at the hands of the guards left a dark spot on his soul. The one constant in his life since relocating to Chicago has been his lover—now husband—Esmail, whose steadfast love and support has soothed his wounded heart.

But this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to be the one giving his husband something special, because even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise again.

Review: Amir fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment and has been labelled with codependence, PTSD and his own label of anxiety for what he witnessed and went through. He was able to get out, along with his love – now husband – Esmail. It has not been an easy five years, but this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to surprise his husband with a traditional meal and celebrations to perhaps remind himself that there is light to be found after the dark.

In recent years, I have seen holiday stories expand themselves to include other celebrations other than American Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, which is not only a great nod to diversity, but you get to learn about other traditions and practices. It can keep the stories a bit fresh too since there can be a different cultural perspective as well.

Such is the case for Watermelon Kisses, where Amir and Esmail have been adapting to life in Chicago, which means adapting to weather changes, culture changes, the fact they can be married rather than outcast or outlawed. Unfortunately, with how they left Iran, they have lost contact with their families, but the possibility they would be ostracized due to them being together is just as likely if they were able to contact them. It has not been easy, particularly for Amir, who is still very much impacted by his last experiences from his home country, but for Shab-e Yalda, he wants to surprise his husband, even when it means going outside his comfort zone.

I liked Amir immediately, you can see why Catherine is so willing to help him and why she is so touched with his thank you. He is one of those characters that you really want to have happiness. His husband, Esmail, simply loves Amir and is just happy they are together. He is quite pleased with the surprise celebration Amir has set up for him, and they revisit early memories of how they got together – and you find out where the title comes from.

If you like holiday stories where you get to learn about traditions other than your own, with characters beginning again after some extreme challenges, you will likely enjoy this story. The author even provided an explanation of what Shab-e Yalda is, traditions that are part of it and the foods for the celebration. A beautiful and heartwarming holiday love story.

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