Incense and Peppermints

Review by Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews

Sometimes the darkest hour really does come before the dawn, and this charming short story with lots of details about Christmas traditions from across the world is a good example. It is set in Hollywood, all the characters are either actors or work in the movie industry, and there is more than one surprise as Pax, the main character who tells the story, discovers a few unexpected details about his neighbors.

It all starts when Pax discovers an old neighbor’s dead body after a morning run. He really liked the man, so the neighbors who show up and get involved annoy him at first. One by one, as they deal with the death and funeral arrangements, Pax gets to know them better. Add the preparations for Christmas and a beginning romance between Pax and Cade, and the ending turns out to be a lot sweeter than the initial situation seemed to indicate.

If you like Christmas stories with quirky characters, if a few surprises are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read with lots of personal and cultural details set in the weird and wonderful world of Hollywood, then you might like this short story.