When Queen Anna died too young, she promised her beloved husband, Sheikh Khazan, he would never know a lonely Christmas. She spent every Christmas Eve with him ever since. This year things have changed. Anna bargained with the powers that be for them to experience love in the flesh again, one last time.
Khazan rarely leaves the Irish castle that belonged to his lovely young wife. He lives all year for the one special night, when he is reunited with his soul mate. When she shows up this time as a flesh and blood woman again, he is overjoyed. Until he learns the price she paid in return for this gift.
All Anna wants is for Khazan to leave with her when she goes this time, so they will never be parted again. Is he willing to give up everything to be with her for all eternity?
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CHRISTMAS SPIRITS takes place on a snowy Christmas Eve at an Irish Castle and contains elements that make it feel both historical and contemporary. The story emulates my favorite literary work of all time, A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, in that the long dead spirit of Anna returns to the earth only once a year to visit her husband, making her something of a ghost of Christmas Past. Sheikh Khazan is a hard, lonely old man who is always cold and always alone, making him the story's Scrooge. If I stretch, then I'd say the young children Mac and Maddie take on some of the roles of C-Present and C-Future. The similarities are not absolute but I did appreciate the play on Dickens's classic and I admired Gemma Juliana's ability to come up with a unique twist at the end of her tale. CHRISTMAS SPIRITS is a sensual romance between a husband and wife, both miraculously restored to youth and able to touch one another for the first time in decades. Apparently, Anna and Khazan have been unable to touch one another for the past fifty-seven years since her passing at the age of thirty-three, so they are starved for one another's touch. The love making scenes were well written and enjoyable but this was really more of a story about sacrifices and second chances. At first, my feelings toward Anna were ambivalent. It actually struck me as rather cruel to return to your living spouse for only one day a year. Just often enough to be sure Khazan could never move on, but dooming him to a life of solitude. Then about halfway through the story, I realized what was really going on (which I can't say without giving spoilers). The understanding of Anna's true motivations restored her to a favorable light and increased my satisfaction with the overall tale. CHRISTMAS SPIRITS isn't long but no words are wasted. This paranormal romance is an intriguing and creative take the established Christmas themes of faith and redemption. An arc was received.