Lighting the Flames
December 13, 2014
Genevieve and Jeremy have known each other since they were seven, and have been summertime best friends at Camp Meira, a Jewish overnight camp in the mountains. As campers, and then as staff, their friendship was a constant, something neither wanted to change, no matter how tempting those changes might be. Then, last year, with little warning, Jeremy left camp early. After that summer, Gen left the country on a graduate fellowship. Now, a little over a year since they were last at Meira, Gen and Jeremy are back together to help run a special Winter Camp during Hanukkah. Any water under the bridge is frozen this time of year, and with so much left unspoken and unexplained, this week may be their chance to rekindle their friendship or turn it into something new. -From Goodreads
What I Liked: When the whole premise of your story is two people who have known each other for years, and who are about to explore the possibility of taking their relationship to a different level, the relationship between those characters better be believable. From page one, I believed that Genevieve and Jeremy were good friends and that their relationship had been built over years of summer camp. Their rapport, their banter, their hesitancy to see if there could be more to them was comfortable and natural. Hanukkah is a central part of this story, but it doesn’t overwhelm the romance; in fact, it blends perfectly with the camp moments. Religion is a major part of both Jeremy and Genevive’s lives and helps shape each of their personalities in a way that was respectful. Wendell was able to handle the topic of grief beautifully and in a way that fit into the overall story seamlessly.
What I Didn’t Like: There were some awkward moments where, as a reader, it was difficult to understand what was happening/what the characters were thinking. This would be fine if those moments were later discussed but they weren’t. In particular, there is a moment where Genevieve’s mood completely changes, Jeremy notices and finds it odd, but the moment is never discussed and never explained.
Who Should Read It: Anyone looking for a holiday romance that isn’t Christmas themed will like this one, especially for those looking for a shorter story.
Review Wrap-Up: This was a quick, sweet romance that manages to balance the romance with the celebration of Hanukkah in a cohesive and enjoyable way. If you have fond memories of your own camp experience, you’ll enjoy Genevive and Jeremy’s story about falling in love at the place they consider their second home. I recommend this book.