REVIEW: Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with Bellskis #3) by Astrid Amara
Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis book 3)
Seth Bellski and Lars Varga have opened their own law firm that specializes in representing the underrepresented–whistleblowers, disadvantaged employees, and those lacking power. The good news is, business is never slow. But that also means they are busy when all Seth really wants to do is plan his pending nuptials. So when his brother-in-law approaches him with concerns about his own business, and when Lars’s brother gives them the cold treatment, Seth wishes he could just tune them all out. But holidays are all about families, even the annoying members. If Seth and Lars are going to enjoy their joint Hanukkah/Christmas celebration this year, they’re going to have to deal with the brother that has a problem, and the brother that IS the problem. And do so before anything else comes in the way of them and their happily ever after.
What was it about being a decent, social human being that required one to persistently attend compulsory social engagements? Seth wasn’t introverted by nature, but he also preferred spending his time with people who shared more than a last name and a predisposition for maple syrup urine disease. He had a profound distaste for small talk in general, especially with people that he needed something from—in this case, a long-term affability. “
Dear Astrid Amara,
Seth and Lars are probably my favorite characters from your Hanukkah novellas and I was so happy to meet them again, I suspect that this was the last time and if so, their story ended on pitch perfect note for me. Almost a decade passed in their world since we first met Seth and Lars in the first novella of this mini trilogy “Carol of the Bellskis”, which SaraF reviewed here at DA. As blurb states Seth and Lars have their own law firm and a lot of their clients are “little guys”, in particular they are taking a lot of employment discrimination cases.
Holidays are approaching and after another case almost ended ( we see the end of the trial and the only thing left is to wait for the judge’s ruling), Lars proposed and of course Seth accepted and now it looks like the holidays are going to be busier and more stressful than usual for both of them. We also learn that Lars’ family decided to come and visit for the Hanukkah/Christmas celebrations and Lars decided to tell them about upcoming wedding in person.
I said it before and I will say it again, I am perfectly okay with reading stories about the men meeting for the first time and the book ending at the moment when they decide to stay together, but I love the stories which show what happens after that moment, I love the stories which show the challenges which established couples may face and grow as a couple and realize once again that they belong together. I love those stories.
This novella is a story about established couple. Seth and Lars had been together for ten years, give or take. I say give or take, because I am not sure from what moment we were supposed to count the decade they had been together, but no matter what they had been together for a while. They had been through a lot, and they are still deeply in love even if to some degree their love transformed into something different than what it was in the beginning.
“Seth had once imagined finding his soul mate would mean two minds becoming one, a constant state of partnership and bliss. But Lars wasn’t his soul mate. He was nothing sacred or special. He was a man who left whiskers in the bathroom sink and still thought burping a song was funny. But he was also the man Seth loved more than anyone else on this earth. There may not be astral strings entwining the two of them, but after nearly a decade of waking up in each other’s arms, Seth couldn’t define where his life ended and Lars’s began. And that seemed more tangible, real, and valuable than any fairytale soul mate.”
The conflicts in this story were mostly of the external type and I appreciated that a lot. Of course the couple who was together for a long time could have problems (I am aware that divorces after long term marriages do happen!). I just always worry that the internal conflict in the long term fictional relationship will be less convincing to me than the external one.
I appreciated that the writer did not try to break them up, especially because the story was on the shorter side and it would take a lot to make me believe that Seth and Lars decide that they did not want to be together anymore.
Believe me, they had enough to deal with in this novella and preparation for the wedding was only a part of that.
I appreciated that legal part of the story once again made sense to me (yes, the judges do not always issue a decision from the bench right away), I appreciated that in Seth and Lars we saw the lawyers who practiced law not just because they loved the job and wanted to make a living ( which is a perfectly respectable reason to practice law or any profession if you ask me), but also because they wanted to help people.
Oh and this is a Hanukkah novella, so of course the holiday is a backdrop for the story, and as always I liked and appreciated it.
I am having a hard time naming something that I did not like about the story therefore my grade is A-.