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  • Nikky Lee

Book Review: Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr

Title: Winter Masquerade

Author: Kevin Klehr

Publisher: NineStar Press

Page Count: 137

Rep: LGBTQ+, M/M

Spice: 🌶️🌶️

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨(4.5/5)

Move over Alice and Wonderland, here comes Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr. While far from a children’s story, this mad hatter's dreamscape delves deep into the weird and mysterious, and ultimately, romance.

When Ferris wakes on board the Sea Queen sailing on a chocolate sea, he comes to realise he is trapped in the strange and surreal dimension. His only hope of return is to locate the missing Alchemist on board the ship, who has also vanished under mysterious circumstances. Aided by new friends from the Sea Queen, which includes several musicians and a talking miniature pegasus, Ferris turns sleuth as he struggles to piece together not only a way home but his trampled heart.

The best comparison I can make is Alice in Wonderland meets If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino. This story has all the absurdities of the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and that in itself takes some getting used to. But if readers lean in to the dream-like surrealism, they’ll come to understand there’s a deeper, psychological undercurrent to the story. This is more than a dreamy tea party; it is Ferris’s soul laid bare. The lies that Ferris tells himself come out into the open and we, along with Ferris, begin to realise that the relationship he has with his real-world boyfriend, Harris, is not as healthy as he portrays it. In fact, it’s downright toxic.

This novella by Kevin Klehr packs a lot within its 137 pages. I particularly loved seeing Ferris come out of his shell, “wake up” to his situation, and dig deep to find the resolve to save himself and his heart. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone but know it is sublime, and the remaining question of what is real and what is not lingers long after the final page.


Romance/spice levels explainer:

  • Mild 🌶️– Some romantic interactions and kissing; no on-page or off-page sex scenes.

  • Warm 🌶️🌶️ – Romantic interactions, kissing, and making out; fade-to-black sex scenes.

  • Steamy 🌶️🌶️🌶️– romantic interactions, kissing, and making out; one or more on-page sex scenes.

Scorching 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ – romantic interactions, kissing, and making out; detailed and/or longer on-page sex scenes that include four-letter anatomical terms.


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