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Five years ago, Neno Kovač fled California, graduate school, and his lover, Toby Cowan, to return to his native Croatia. Since then, he’s led a quiet life as a librarian—until one November afternoon when Toby, who has never stopped loving Neno, shows up in Zagreb. When he left the United States, Neno wasn’t ready to give up his home and family to take a chance on a long-distance relationship. But Saint Martin’s Day has arrived, the day pressed grapes turn to wine and autumn turns to winter. Perhaps it will be a day when other changes are possible as well.
Happy dance, because I so, so enjoyed this sweet short story about true love and second chances!
I’ve read a lot of Kim Fielding, and many of her stories are high fantasy or fairy tale-like (which I devour, thank you!). I gotta confess, though: it’s a special treat for me when she writes a good old fashioned contemporary; the way her characters interact in an Everyday Joe kind of setting speaks to my heart.
Suffice it to say, Saint Martin’s Day made me feel like doing a little rumba of joy.
Neno is living in his native Croatia after a brief grad school stint in California, where he had a sweet romance with Toby. Since leaving Toby five years prior and returning home, Neno has resigned himself to the fact that he’ll live out a loveless life in Croatia. But he’s with his family, and that’s what matters most, right? At least that’s what he thinks until Toby shows up out of the blue at the library where Neno works. Can this love affair be rekindled after all that time? And look! It’s almost Saint Martin’s Day, a feast of autumnal celebration (think Thanksgiving); what a perfect time to reflect on the past and ponder the future!
Another constant I appreciate in Fielding’s writing is the “Eeyore.” You know: that pessimistic, gloomy, depressed character? She *nails* that guy every time, and always in a way that you’re still going to love him when it’s all said and done. I like the way Eeyore (Neno!) always finds his way to the light, with the help of an all-around good guy (Toby!).
Everything that followed for these two made my heart flutter, because you know what: we ALL deserve that fairy tale ending, even in the real world.
If you’re someone who likes to really “know” your characters before they ride off into the sunset together but you think it’s impossible in such short stories, you won’t be disappointed here; the characterization is rich and believable. So grab a copy of Saint Martin’s Day, kick your feet up by the fire, and enjoy!