Review of ‘Language of love’ edited by Astrid Ohletz and Lee Winter.

‘Language of love. A flirty, festive anthology’ is a collection of eleven lesfic short stories with the common theme of holiday season traditions around the world. Ylva is a very international and multicultural publishing company and this is reflected in this compilation. The mains characters in these stories includes an ice-queen, a shy lesbian, an allegedly straight woman, young and mature. It is also surprising the mixture of genres like romance, mystery, drama, crime and young adult.

I have to say that normally it’s hard to keep a high level of writing quality in a book with so many authors and different types of stories but this one achieved remarkable results. Of course, that doesn’t mean that every story will please everyone but they will surely enrich your knowledge of holiday festivities. Here I review my favourite ones.

‘The friend’ by Lee Winter. Great story about conflicting family dynamics focusing on an Australian Christmas summer celebration inspired by English traditions.

‘Deck the halls with bullets and holly’ by Alex K. Thorne is a quirky story about a rookie hired assassin and her attractive target. This story is set in South Africa and features an interracial couple.

‘Mask’ by Sheryn Munir is a fantastic coming-out story between two best friends secretly in love with each other with the background of Christmas celebrations in India. It deals with difficult issues such as Alzheimer’s disease and being a lesbian in the present and past.

‘Orphans’ Christmas’ by Cheyenne Blue is a superb story about an Irish family of immigrants in Australia, trying to keep traditions alive, while dealing with bereavement. A great personal bonus for me is to see an authentic portrayal of Irish characters, so often mentioned in lesfic but rarely described accurately.

‘And the bells are ringing out’ by Lola Keeley is an excellent interracial love story set in Edinburgh for Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) celebrations from the perspective of a Senegalese woman living in London.

‘Paula gets a pony ranch’ by Patricia Penn is a very original, funny, sarcastic and irreverent Christmas tale set in Germany about a no-nonsense business woman who inherits a pony ranch.

‘Four Chanukahs and a Bat Mitzvah’ by Cindy Rizzo is a great story about Jewish traditional celebrations of Hanukkah in the context of a coming of age story and two young women going through different life stages and finding love.

‘It’s in the pudding’ by Emma Weimann is a great romantic story with the unusual setting of a dentist practice along with a German tradition of hiding an almond in the pudding and granting a wish to whom discovers it.

Overall, a fantastic compilation of holiday season lesfic stories, great to get you in the mood for celebration. 4.5 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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