Review: Phin's Christmas by Bonnie Dee

Doubt invades a fairy-tale holiday.

Excited to celebrate his first Christmas with his true love, Phin Abernathy searches for the perfect gift for Teddy, the artist who saved him from solitude (The Artist). But his happy holiday dreams are soon threatened.

After a year of living on his own, then with his beloved partner, Phin has mostly banished his negative view of himself. He and Teddy are happily saving toward a house they can share, when a chance encounter with a stranger raises Phin’s old ghosts of doubt, anxiety, and self-disgust.

Struggling to quell such negative spirits, Phin focuses on volunteering at a children’s shelter. But when he sees his Teddy and handsome Justin Crump (The Medium) in a suspicious situation, it is difficult to control his racing thoughts. Belief in Teddy’s love for him wars with Phin’s fear his lover wants something more.

Phin must decide how far he is willing to go to keep Teddy in his life, and truly embrace his own worth before he can ever celebrate the season.

Phin’s Christmas is a bonus Christmas treat that is a follow up to the author’s tale, The Artist. I can’t recommend that book enough, especially if you are a fan of historicals, The Artist is a must read. There are plenty of good explanations as the story moves along, so the origin story doesn’t have to be fresh or even read to appreciate Phin’s Christmas, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not reading it.

The story picks up after Phin and Teddy have been living in London for a time. Phin has established himself as an English tutor and Teddy’s art is gathering a strong following among the right society people. The two are blissfully happy and are saving for a house that they can share under the pretense they are confirmed bachelor friends who have found a way to live in a home rather than renting rooms and remain respectable among society.

There are appearances from characters from The Medium and I loved reading about Justin again. Justin did unwittingly bring the angst to the story though, but it made sense and it was not overdone. In fact, I would have been waaaaaay more of a mess than Phin and I have to give his character all the credit for becoming such a strong person given the abuse in his background. Teddy may have given him the push, but Phin built his own future and I very much appreciated how the author made that such an important piece of Phin’s evolution.

Phin’s Christmas is told from Phin’s POV which is the only way Teddy’s mysterious shenanigans could stay mysterious and one of my favorite parts of The Artist was being in Phin’s head, so it worked for this extended epilogue to their life story.

Of course there were no bad shenanigans, just Teddy being his impulsive self (all in the name of making Phin happy of course) and the resolutions came about pretty quickly and wrapped in a beautiful bow. And while everything may have been a bit too perfect, it’s a Christmas story with characters who deserve a perfect future, so I was completely fine with it.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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