Book Reviews

Watermelon Kisses by Freddy MacKay at Mischief Corner Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 30-November-2017

Book Blurb

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.

Book Review

Watermelon-flavored kisses are at the center of this very touching story about two Iranian men who survived suppression and now live in Chicago. Amir was imprisoned and suffers from PTSD, including anxiety attacks and fear in the most unexpected moments. Esmail is the love of his life, studying to be a lawyer, and Amir’s most steadfast supporter. They both miss home, and while they know they can never go back without facing the death penalty, Amir is determined to properly celebrate Shab-e Yaldā, an Iranian festival on the "longest and darkest night of the year", this year.

The traditional decorations and food allow both of them to reconnect with their heritage as well as each other. It has been five years since they left Iran, and it is a very emotional day/night for both of them. I loved the descriptions of the foods and the fact that, at the end of the book, there is a detailed explanation of the festival, its traditions, and even a few yummy-sounding recipes.

But what makes this story shine above all else is the deep love that Amir (who tells the story) and Esmail share. Amir’s description of how he gets through the day and how difficult it is for him to go grocery shopping gave me just a small glimpse into the hell he and people like him go through after suffering the kind of trauma most of us never have to think about. For Amir and Esmail, Shab-e Yaldā with its lights and message of hope that the sun will rise again has a far deeper meaning than an annual festival. I loved being able to feel like a small part of that joy!

If winter holiday traditions from different cultures interest you, if you want to find out more about the way victims of brutality deal with life after regaining their freedom, and if you’re looking for an emotional, touching read with a message of hope and joy, then you will probably like this novella.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Other Worlds Ink for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 81 pages/18000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 29-November-2017
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link