Review – Let it Snow by Heidi Cullinan

Let it Snow cover image
Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out today
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota Northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot.

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

After reading and enjoying, Love Lessons by Cullinan also published by Samhain, I started to keep an eye out for her work with a similar tone. Looking at the blurb for Let it Snow I couldn’t resist and eagerly requested it from Samhain. A few weeks later when Cullinan’s blog tour was announced I happily requested a guest post from her (please see the early post today) and she provided a great one. After all of this anticipation and my personal mental build-up I was very glad to see that I enjoyed reading Let it Snow.

I will admit I have a soft spot when it comes to romances with the main characters stuck in close proximity due to weather. To me that forces people to see how they would get along together over an extended time-period because it bypasses the honeymoon phase. The inability to leave, the forced dependence, and the unknown length of time all create a rather stressful situation which brings out the worst in people or maybe their purest essence once the polite trappings of society are stripped away. In this particular case, things were even more tense because of Marcus’ previous relationship, the personal habits of his roommates, and Frankie’s skittishness. I loved the combination and about died laughing during the first night in the cabin when everything came together.

I enjoyed more than the situation in this story. As I was reading, I started looking for the use and demolishment of stereotypes. Frankie knew he fit a certain mold and had been bullied as a result. When he first saw Marcus and his friends he leaped to the conclusion that the three hairy lumberjacks were staring at him as a prelude to causing him physical harm. With that in mind he was extremely skittish when he realized he was stuck in a cabin with them during a snowstorm. Throughout the story stereotypes, preconceived notions, and expectations continued to pop-up for Cullinan’s characters to negotiate. I enjoyed the mix of seeing some of those assumptions verified and others tossed out the window. I think what made this aspect stick out to me is the assumptions were in the minds of the characters themselves so it wasn’t something I inferred.

Frankie ended up having more depth to his character than I expected. When he was given the opportunity he selflessly gave of himself, his skill, and what he really enjoyed doing to brighten the lives of some of the local townspeople. He also did not expect any of the “bears” to go out of their way to do anything for him so his mixture of gratitude and suspicion was rather entertaining. Frankie also had a bit of a temper which when he let it loose, I absolutely loved.

Marcus was so terrifically grumpy and growly. He was so busy trying to act like Frankie didn’t push ALL of his buttons that everything he said came out sounding rough and curt. Yet when I paid attention to his actions he was very protective and caring towards Frankie. He took the time and effort to accommodate Frankie’s food intolerances instead of just expecting him to pick out certain items. Marcus also made sure he protected Frankie from the games his friends enjoyed because their interests were a bit rougher than Frankie enjoyed.

Frankie and Marcus both grew as characters, which I really liked. Each had to decide to take a chance on something that could make them happy but would require exposing vulnerability. Their outside contrast in just about every way made discovering their similarities that much more of a pleasure to discover. I thought the conversation about their difficulties in fitting in or discovering who they were was really touching. It was another example of Cullinan carrying the thread about stereotypes throughout the story. Once again Cullinan created a story that I felt fully immersed in the lives of her characters. I am looking forward to seeing what she comes up next in this particular world.

I give Let it Snow a B

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