My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this story. It was sweet, and funny, and about friends-to-lovers, and summer camp, and so much more.
I started reading it at a Jewish summer camp in the off-season, during the holidays. Yes, this is a real thing. So much of what Wendell describes in Lighting The Flames rang true, and I loved being in that place at that time reading about Gen and Jeremy.
I loved how the camp friendship blossomed, and I loved that Jeremy was in what's a non-traditional role for romance heroes (he's a funeral director). Wendell, through the character of Jeremy, explained with great sensitivity the unselfish act of kindness that it is to be a shomer (shomeret for women), sitting with the dead before they take their final journey. I've done it, and Jeremy's recounting of his time doing it was meaningful and added depth to his commitment to Gen. It was pretty clear how she could fall in love with a mensch like him.
Lighting the Flames is a gentle, timeless tale of finding light and love in the cold and darkness of grief. Wendell may have started out simply wanting to tell a Chanukah tale to romance readers getting bombarded with Christmas stories, but the little flame of this romance story about people who celebrate a different winter holiday burned brightly indeed. I hope to see more of her fiction in the future!
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