The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts

snow-globe

This is another re-read for me; I read this short Christmas novella at the end of November last year.

I didn’t plan to read this originally, but I pick this up on a whim.

I docked a star this year – as opposed to the other re-read which moved me immensely, this one failed to move me as much as it did last year.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love this little Christmas story, I enjoyed it a lot. Yet, it kind of fell flat for me particularly the ending.

This story revolves around three women, Kiley, Suzanne and Allison. They’re best friends and they pass a mysterious slow globe which Kiley finds in an antique shop on to one another and SOMETHING happens to each one of them. According to what the owner of the antique shop says, the snow globe brings exactly what its holder needs.

To put in a nutshell, this book can be divided into three parts; a love story which revolves around lovelorn Kiley, a heart-warming family story with Suzanne, and Allison’s story which I can’t find words to articulate what exactly is.

The first two parts are delightful to read. They are fast-paced and are full of heart-warming vibe. Although I found the love story between Kiley and Craig a bit too fast-paced and insta-lovey, I enjoyed reading Kiley’s encounter with her Mr. Right.

That said, I must say that I found the transition from Kiley’s story to Suzanne’s story a bit abrupt. There was no clear closure to Kiley’s part and I was still deeply engrossed in Kiley’s love story, so the sudden transition baffled me a bit.

Suzanne’s story is well-written and beautifully crafted. It’s a typical I-woke-up-and-smell-the-coffee type of story, realizing what really matters on Christmas day, but the epiphany she has in her dream was therapeutic to read. It is very cleansing.

Nevertheless, I think I must say that Allison’s story fell flat for me. It doesn’t leave as big an impact on me as the other two stories have.

On top of that, I find the fiasco at the Christmas dinner a bit over-exaggerated; I felt the author tried too much to put forward the image of how messed up Allison’s family is after her grandmother passed away. As a result, I felt it a bit over the top and I was put off by it. Everything felt kind of slippery and didn’t sink in on me as much I would have liked.

Likewise, the ending didn’t appeal to me as much; I am still not convinced why they come to the specific conclusion, because the rationalization of what they do in the end doesn’t feel strong enough for me.

Overall, it’s a delightful read. I wasn’t too happy with how the story goes and ends, but it doesn’t change the fact that I adore the first half (maybe until 75% or so) of the book.

I gave this book solid 3 stars – or, 3.5 out of 5 stars. It didn’t blow me away, but I enjoyed reading it.

O Little Town by Don Reid

O Little Town

O Little Town: A Novel

 

It may have been a bit too early to pick up this book; having finished reading it, I am now convinced this book would make a fantastic holiday read.

The story takes place in a small town, Mt. Jefferson back in 1958, with an intense scene depicting a shoplift by a teenage girl in a department store just a few days leading up to Christmas.
The description is so gripping and excellent that I was completely swept by it in an instant. It makes a perfect entrance to the story that beautifully entwines the secrets and angst of three families and the unforgettable memories which Walter Selman holds deep down his heart over the span of fifty years.

Nothing extraordinary or far-fetched happens throughout the book; it involves normal people whom you may find in your everyday life – those with secrets which can never be confided in to others, or those having affairs and are constantly afraid of having their relationships exposed.

Everything barely hangs on a perfect balance. Yet they are, at the same time, at constant risk of being unearthed. With the bad news involving Walter, the seams start to fray and the characters desperately try to patch them up, attempting to keep them under wraps as they have been .

Like I said, the description is just superb and compelling. Although the story involves some inner turmoil and anxieties, the writing never gets over-exaggerated; something like tranquility runs through the entire book and it also heightens the sense of suspension by closing the chapters with many unanswered questions up in the air, leaving us wondering “what?! What’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen next??!  Brilliant.

I may be giving the wrong impression about this book; it’s defintely NOT all about dark secrets or skeltons in the closet; it’s also a story of forgiveness and redemption. The sermon scene in the church best describes that aspect.

To be honest, I wasn’t expected to be drawn by this book so much; it is compelling, riveting, I simply couldn’t wait to wrap up work and go home so that I’d get to read it.

The epilogue particularly jumps out and I let out a cry of surprise when I found out who the narrator was.  Again, it came as quite a surprise, but I will keep it under my hat here – you must figure it out on your own.

This is arguably one of the most entertaining books that I have read this year. I highly recommend it.