** SPOILER SPOILER **
Hmmm ... this novella could be one of those magical holiday story that just warms my heart. Basically the idea of a ghost who has haunted the estate for 100 years as a penance, needs to make people fall in love, and ends up falling in love himself is already promising. BUT, the execution is what failed making this more than just an 'okay' story for me.
I guess I missed the 'connection' between Nathaniel and Gabriel. They have practically known each other for 12 years. That should account for some beautiful, tender, lovely, emotional moments between them, that created the basis for the ending ... even if Gabriel is, well, a ghost. But this story starts with Nathaniel's friend from TWENTY years ago coming to the B & B. I just had a hard time to understand Nathaniel's reaction to Owen. There wasn't enough information for me to believe that this Owen is important for Nathaniel. Why the Owen plot anyway? Why couldn't it be just Nathaniel and Gabriel ... to make it sort of like best-friend-turn-lovers theme, with a touch of paranormal element.
I would love to understand the nature of Gabriel's "punishment" -- is it the ending game all along? That if he can make people fall in love, he can become real and alive again? Or is it because Nathaniel loves him, that he can become real? If his purpose is to make people fall in love, and others do so, is that just makes him moving on to Heaven or something? Or he is charged to take care's Nathaniel's love life all along? So many questions in my head, which is not a satisfying way to read a story.
I guess I just think it's a nice one, but not a winner in my book.