Gale Stanley
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Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
December 2013
Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ

Is it possible to be a good Jew and a gay man?

Not for Jonah Stern. He can't reconcile his faith with his attraction to boys, so he turns his back on Judaism. A college scholarship is Jonah's ticket to freedom from his disapproving parents. Next step: losing his virginity to Christian, the blue-eyed blond man of his dreams.

Instead, Jonah has a fateful meeting with Aaron Blumberg and ends up celebrating Hanukkah. Aaron tells him they're bashert—meant to be. But Jonah has doubts. He believes his lack of faith will create a wedge between them. It's up to Aaron to bridge the gap and convince Jonah to take a leap of faith.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Dec 22, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
263 people found the following review helpful
Christmas may be the larger footprint in the snow during December, but Hanukkah is the brighter one during the eight days of the Festival of Lights. To a confused college freshman deciding which to celebrate and with whom comes down to a question of the heart in this cute holiday tale.

Penn State freshman Jonah Stern has had it with being Jewish, especially during Hanukkah which celebrates the Jew's triumph over the Greeks. Jonah, a gay man, thinks it's hypocritical of him to honor the Jews who despise homosexuality over a civilization that accepted it. This holiday season the shy, introverted Jonah has promised himself that he will find a blond-haired, blue-eyed guy to celebrate Christmas with.

But when he stops by an 24/7 convenience store and witnesses two bullies taunting a man wearing a yarmulke, Jonah steps in to help Aaron Blumberg fight them off. After they successfully get rid of the bullies, graduate student Aaron invites Jonah over for dinner on the first night of Hanukkah. So begins a friendship and potential romantic relationship that the ambivalent Jonah both yearns for and dreads.

Jonah is the kind of low-key schlub that readers love to love. Like many college freshmen, Jonah is trying to find himself and figure out where he fits into the world around him. Unlike many, however, Jonah is charming and self-deprecating about his search. He's the guy readers will want to put their arms around and reassure him that everything will be okay.

Aaron is the perfect match for Jonah and sees all the wonderful personality in the younger man. Aaron could have fought off the bullies himself but is charmed by the guy who readily comes to his defense. As a Jewish man who practices his religion and who has gone through the kinds of doubt that now plagues Jonah, Aaron is also a terrific religious mentor, the perfect guy to take Jonah's questions and rebellion seriously, and also the perfect guy to steer him gently to a safe harbor.

Since bashert can be translated as "destiny" or "soulmate," the ultimate partner for someone, is Jonah Aaron's bashert or is he only a Hanukkah fling?
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