I saw this on NetGalley a couple of days after I raved about ‘Nathan Burgoine’s Handmade Holidays in the HEAforTransKids’ Winter Wonderland bundle. I requested it immediately. Burgoine is one of my new favorite, will read everything they’ve written authors. Felix Navidad lived up to the hype I gave it, while also being more than I anticipated.
Felix is a nurse who works with clients in their homes. He became a nurse after experiencing the positive impact a nurse could have on patients and families while his own mother was dying. In the present, he’s attending Nate and Haruto’s much delayed wedding. In the past he’s spending time with a client who was an integral part of The Village, Ottawa’s LGBTQ+ community. His client, Danya, has a vast network of friends and acquaintances, all of whom he has given nicknames. Felix’s nickname is Felix Navidad.
In the past, Felix takes care of Danya as he slowly recovers. In the present, Felix is attending the wedding and then trying to get to Hawaii for a very rare winter vacation. Increasingly bad weather thwarts his attempt to fly to Toronto from Ottawa, and as he heads for his Jeep to drive there instead, he runs into a fellow wedding guest, Kevin, also trying to get to Toronto. The weather forces them to stop at an Inn.
Of course the past and present come together very sweetly. The underlying ache of grief makes the hope for future joy sharper. Though Danya isn’t the central character, and we really only see his relationship with Felix, it’s clear that he has been building the future of The Village as well as preserving the past. His network weaves people together and lights the way forward.
In a time when there are substantial efforts to erase and obfuscate history, I loved this soft and sweet holiday romance that celebrates the people we lose as much as the people we find. Felix Navidad will make you cry in the best way.
CW: grief, death of parent, death of friend, major life changes.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.