Review: Tutus and Tinsel by Rhys Ford

Review: Tutus and Tinsel by Rhys FordTutus and Tinsel (Half Moon Bay, #2.5) by Rhys Ford
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: ebook
Genres: holiday fiction, holiday romance, M/M romance
Series: Half Moon Bay #2.5
Pages: 95
Published by Dreamspinner Press on December 21, 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo
Goodreads

Zig Reid-Harris has everything an eleven-year-old girl could ever want: a great home, two fantastic fathers named Deacon Reid and Lang Harris, and all the books she could possible read.

When a school assignment about holiday traditions unexpectedly broadsides her, she discovers burying the past isn’t as easy as it looks, and the stark reality of her life before her adoption sinks in. Ashamed of the bleakness and poverty she came from, Zig struggles with the assignment until an epiphany strikes the whole family—it’s time to start their own traditions.

Zig and her fathers plunge into the insanity of holiday joy, exploring everything the season has to offer and learning how precious family truly is along the way.

My Review:

Tutus and Tinsel is a sweet little “slice of life” story featuring characters that readers of the Half Moon Bay series have come to know and love.

Which means that if you haven’t read at least the first book in the series, Fish Stick Fridays, you won’t really know enough about these people to care about how far they’ve come and how heartwarming this short story is. As the series is marvelous, I highly recommend reading both Fish Stick Fridays and Hanging the Stars before diving into the sparkly pile of tinsel that is Tutus and Tinsel.

But if you are familiar with the characters and the setting, this story has a lot to say under its fluffy exterior about the spirit of the holidays.

And even though the holiday they are celebrating is Christmas, the story doesn’t go into the religious aspect of the holiday – or any of the December holidays. Instead, this is a story about family and family traditions.

It’s also about honoring what you came from while stepping forward to meet your future.

Deacon, Lane and Zig Reid-Harris are a combination of family-of-choice, family-of-blood, and family-of-love, all rolled into one great big sparkly and spiky ball. Deacon and Zig were originally uncle and niece. Deacon got custody of Zig after her mother died of her addictions. Deacon vowed to give Zig a better and more secure life, knowing just where and what she was coming from. His sister, after all, took after their mother entirely too much, so Deacon’s childhood wasn’t much different from Zig’s, without the timely rescue.

When Deacon and Lane got married (that’s part of the story of the series, they adopted Zig. So they are all family now.

But it’s a family that doesn’t have much in the way of family traditions, at least not for the holidays. Fish sticks and macaroni and cheese on Fridays IS a family tradition – but an all-year-round tradition.

So Zig gets thrown for a loop when her teacher assigns the class to do a presentation on the holiday traditions of their families. The families in Half Moon Bay are not wealthy, but are, well, solid compared to Deacon and Zig’s birth family. And there are lot more kids with two parents or two parents plus stepparents or other combinations of love and care than either Deacon or Zig ever experienced.

Lane’s parents may have been shitty, but his grandmother provided love and stability for Lane and his brother West for as long as she lived, giving him more family traditions than Deacon or Zig ever had a chance at.

After Zig’s freak-out about the assignment, she and her two dads come up with an excellent plan. They decide to try out all sorts of holiday traditions to see what works for them – and what occasionally blows up in their faces.

Zig makes her presentation about the journey, from where she started to where they are now, warts and all.

And it’s awesome.

Escape Rating A-: This is short, and that’s right for this little gem. There isn’t really much of a plot, more of a checking in to see how they are now and a whole lot about the meanings of the holidays, and families, and traditions. And what binds people into families, and places, and love.

In addition to telling the story of the Reid-Harris family’s attempts to create, remember and discover family traditions, it will make most readers recall whatever traditions their families have or had over whatever holidays they celebrate at this time of year.

Some of those memories will be bitter, some will be sweet, and some will be distant. But thinking about and celebrating those we love, even those we’ve loved and lost, is also part of this holiday season.

In closing, I’d like to wish you and yours a Happy Holiday Season, whichever holiday or holidays you celebrate this time of year.

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