Winter Garden by Vic Winter
Taste Test
Torquere Press
Anthology / Gay / Romance
Reviewed by Cassie



The Cabin

After his breakdown, only his lover Richard stayed by his side.  Now that heís recovered, Davey wants to find out if he and Richard can reclaim the romance they shared before his illness.  He convinces Richard to come away with him to his cabin for some alone time, but when they arrive the place hasnít been cared for like it was supposed to be.  Will they be able to rekindle their romance?

The Cabin, my favorite story in this anthology,  is a sweet little tale of the resilience of love.  Davey, the narrator, is still a bit unsure after his breakdown, but determined to give his relationship every chance to succeed.  Richard seems brusque at first, yet as the story progresses; he takes pleasure in working around the cabin.  The love between the two men shines through this quick tale, making it a pleasure to read!


The Mountain Troll

Jacob lives in a little town near a mountain.  All his life heís been told of a troll who lives in the mountains.  The townspeople leave little offerings for the troll, claiming if they donít heíll eat the village virgins.  Jacob doesnít believe in trolls, but he is very curious about who lives in the caveÖ

The Mountain Troll is an interesting fantasy story with a lot of atmosphere.  Curious Jacob discovered much more than he bargained for when he found the gruff yet kind Trogarth.  I liked this story, despite a rather melancholy edge.


The Polar Bear Snowglobe

Ben is always talking Jaime into doing crazy things.  This time, they join the Polar Bear Club.

The Polar Bear Snowglobe is a quick, tiny slice of the life of Jaime and Ben.  Even though not much happens in the story, Benís infectious enthusiasm got to Jaime, and I confess I kind of wanted to do something fun and crazy too after reading this one.


The Winter Garden

Peter tells his parents heís gay at eighteen, and is kicked out of their house.  After attempting to get work, he ends up on the streets.  Years later, during a very cold winter, something strange happens.  Is it a new beginning, or the end of everything?

The Winter Garden is rather a difficult story to describe.  It was set up a bit like a fairy tale, only a fractured one.  I sympathized with Peter and hoped he would get a happy ending after the sad years heíd endured, but the road to his happy ending was unusual to say the least!  I donít want to spoil the story by saying more, so Iíll just say The Winter Garden was a strange yet enjoyable story with some interesting twists.


Winter Garden features four very different stories covering the contemporary and fantasy genres.  While one story stood out as the most emotional and engaging in my mind, all four stories are enjoyable in different ways.  If youíre looking for a little taste of winter, even if itís August (and itís 100 degrees as Iím typing this), then this anthology will work nicely!


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