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Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts - A Great Holiday Read

The Snow Globe
The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts is a beautiful book that will warm your heart during this holiday season.  It is also perfect for a quick afternoon read and would fit really nicely in a Christmas stocking! Filled with laughter and tears, the story is sure to hold your attention till the very end... and make you wish for a continuation.  I found it very charming, with just a hint of the calamity of life to lend it a good dose of realism (I also found some great humor in it as well... especially the traditional family game at Kiley's family's Thanksgiving).

Three very special friends each need a miracle during this holiday season.  Kiley needs a job and wants to fall in love with the right guy... Allison misses the one person who truly loved her and spent quality time with her, her grandmother... and Suzanne is working too hard to have the perfect house instead of creating a home for her family.  Each woman is given a glimpse of something special as the snow settles in the snow globe Kiley brings home from an antique store she stopped at during their girls weekend away.

The snow globe gives Kiley hope that she can find a miracle after she shakes it and sees a local Pike Place Market (Seattle) toy store in the snowy scene.  Kiley does not know what to expect when she goes on a quest with her friend Allison to find the toy store, but she does know that the scene in the snow globe has given her hope.  Even Suzanne, who is skeptical of the snow globe's power and the legitimacy of Kiley's new found Mr. Right may change her mind after seeing her friend's happiness and catching a glimpse of something special within the snow globe.

The book is a hardback edition, and the dust jacket has wonderful little glittery details on it that really make it just perfect.  And to top it all off, I find myself taking the time to enjoy snow globes as I run across them now.

The Snow Globe
by Sheila Roberts

St. Martin's Press (October 26, 2010) ~ 176 pages

Edition Reviewed: Hardback - Review copy received courtesy of the author, Thank you Sheila for sending me a copy to review!

About the Book:
Discover an unforgettable holiday treasure in Sheila Roberts’ heartwarming tale of love and laughter, magic and miracles, friendship and coming home…

On a blustery afternoon, Kylie Gray wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe. “There’s a story behind that snow globe,” the antique dealer tells her. The original owner, he explains, was a German toymaker who lost his wife and son right before Christmas. When the grieving widower received the handcrafted snow globe as a Christmas gift, he saw the image of a beautiful woman beneath the glass—a woman who would come into his life, mend his broken heart and bring him back to the world of the living. For years, the snow globe has passed from generation to generation, somehow always landing in the hands of a person in special need of a Christmas miracle.

Kiley could use a miracle herself. This year, all she wants for Christmas is someone to love. A hopeful shake leads her on an adventure that makes a believer out of her. When Kylie shares the story of the snow globe with her best friends—two women with problems of their own—they don’t believe it. But they’re about to discover that at Christmastime, sometimes the impossible becomes possible and miracles really do come true.

Excerpt (found on Amazon):

Fawn Island, Pacific Northwest

Something drew Kiley Gray to the antique shop. It could have been the carousel horse in the window or the sight of tables and shelves beyond, crammed with cast-off treasures. Whatever was in there calling to her, she knew she had to go in. She was a big believer in that sort of thing.

Actually, Kiley was a big believer, period. She’d been sure Santa was real until she was ten and even after waking up on Christmas Eve to discover her father hanging her filled stocking on the mantel, she kept pretending for another two years. She’d believed in Prince Charming and Mr. Right clear through college. She’d even believed in happy endings until just this past October when her boyfriend Jeremy Horne dumped her at her own Halloween party (how was that for tacky?), announcing that he couldn’t fight his attraction for her sister any longer.

It had been a very scary Halloween.

A bell chimed over the door as Kiley entered the shop and her nose twitched as she caught a whiff of dust.

Another shopper, a middle-aged woman in a stylish wool coat, stood at the counter, raving over the pink Depression glass pitcher she’d found. “And just in the nick of time,” she added. “I’m going to have to dash to make that ferry.” With hurried thanks, she took the piece the shop owner had carefully wrapped and hurried to the door, stuffing bills in her wallet as she went.

One fluttered to the floor and Kiley scooped it up. It was a fifty, maybe not a lot for this woman, who was well dressed and obviously had money to burn, but to Kiley it was a fortune. “Wait. You dropped this.”

“Oh. Thanks,” said the woman, barely looking at it. She stuffed it in her purse and hurried out the door.

The shopkeeper, a portly man with thinning, gray hair, smiled at Kiley. “People get in too big of a hurry.”

“I can’t afford to be in that big of a hurry,” she said. She probably couldn’t afford to be in here at all. But browsing didn’t cost anything, she told herself as she drifted to where the carousel horse stood frozen in mid-prance. Who had owned this and how had it wound up languishing here? Kiley gave it a comforting pat then wandered past a table overflowing with nautical knickknacks toward an antique sideboard displaying tarnished silver and faded china, waiting for their glory days to return.

Then she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She turned and moved to the far side of the shop for a closer look. Tucked behind a clock with a brass horse and a chipped crystal vase sat an old snow globe. She might never have noticed it if it hadn’t gotten caught by a stray sunbeam that managed to slip past the gray clouds outside and in through the window.

She picked it up, charmed by the scene inside the thick glass: a toyshop in the center of an Alpine village. She gave the globe a shake and watched the snow swirl around the little angel standing guard in front of the shop. It was simply too charming not to buy. Anyway, purchasing treasures was an integral part of any girls’ getaway weekend so, in a way, she was almost obligated.

She took it to where the shop owner sat behind his cash register, now reading a book. “I didn’t see a price tag on this. I’m just wondering what you want for it.”

She gulped when he told her. Not exactly a wise purchase for a girl who had a steady job, let alone one who was now unemployed. Maybe purchasing treasures wasn’t such an integral part of a girls’ getaway weekend. At least not this treasure, not this weekend. Heck, at that price, never.

The man looked over his reading glasses at her and smiled. “But, I think, for the right buyer, I could come down in price.”

Not enough, she was sure. Still, she couldn’t resist asking, “What does the right buyer look like?” Hopefully, a skinny woman edging toward thirty with unruly brown hair, hazel eyes, a fashionably full mouth, and a nose she hated.

“It’s not exactly about looks,” the shop owner said. “It’s more about where you are in life. You see, this little snow globe has quite a story to tell.”

“I like stories,” said Kiley, leaning her elbows on the counter.

“This one starts back when snow globes were first being made. Nobody knows the exact date, but the first one appeared at the Paris Exposition in 1878, and by 1879 at least five companies were producing snow globes and selling them throughout Europe. The woman who brought this to me claims it was one of them, so you can see it’s very valuable.”

“If it’s that valuable I wonder why she didn’t take it to Antiques Roadshow,” Kiley mused. It seemed like the kind of thing that would go for a king’s ransom at Sotheby’s.

The man nodded his agreement. “She had her reasons. You see, its age isn’t the only thing that makes it valuable.” He removed his reading glasses and set aside his book. “Would you like to hear more?”

“I’m not in a hurry,” said Kiley. “But I hope this story has a happy ending. I’m kind of in need of happy endings these days.”

“Are you? Well, you be the judge.”

Chicago, December 1880

It had been one year since Otto Schwartz had lost his whole world. And he was still alive, if one could call moving through each day like a ghost living. This particular day he stood at his toyshop window, watching snow carpet the street. Delivery wagons passed, people walked by with paper-wrapped parcels, happily shopping for Christmas.

Two children, a boy and a girl bundled in heavy coats, hats, and mittens, ran ahead of their mother and stopped in front of the shop window to peer at Otto’s display of porcelain dolls, tin toys, and stuffed animals. They pressed their faces to the glass and pointed excitedly. One even smiled at Otto. He tried to smile back. A ghost of a smile.

The woman caught up with them, keeping her face averted. Taking the children by the hand, she led them off down the street. He could hardly blame her for not wanting to look at him. His toys called to one and all to step inside and find fun and laughter. But once inside people found Otto and they hurriedly left, recalling more pressing errands.

He watched them walk away and sighed. Children and toys were meant to go together. Men who owned toyshops should have children. And wives.

The sigh became a sob. He turned his back on the snowy Chicago street scene, then dug a handkerchief out of the pocket of his black suit and blew his nose. At least he’d tried to smile.

But the effort was coming late. People expected a man to mourn when he lost his wife and baby—a full year in black and no social engagements (as if he had wanted any)—but they also expected a man to continue to run his business, to set aside his sorrow and take care of his customers. Otto couldn’t even care for his own bleeding heart. How could he be expected to care if little Johann would like a wooden marionette or to take an interest in which porcelain doll little Ingrid would want most? At first he had been bereft. He had closed up the shop and shut himself inside his darkened house. Everyone in the city’s German community had understood. But finally his sister had shoved Brötchen, sliced ham, and an egg under his nose and commanded that he eat. And that he then go and reopen his shop.

“You are not the first man to lose a wife in childbirth. You will not be the last,” she’d said sternly. “Liesel and Gottlieb are in heaven.”

“And I am in hell,” he had growled, causing his sister to gasp.

She had recovered quickly, shaking a finger at him and retorting, “Then I suggest you crawl out. It is time. You have a business to run.”

And so he had gone from bereft to morose, and his friends and neighbors tried to be patient. But when he went from morose to ill-tempered people failed to understand and he lost many a customer. Now Christmas was right around the corner and Otto was trying to remember how to smile. Except that was almost impossible with the snow coming down outside, reminding him of happier times in the village in the Bavarian alps where he had grown up, with people strolling by outside on their way to warm, happy homes.

Peter the mail carrier entered the shop, bringing with him the scent of snow. From somewhere outside the sound of a child’s laugh slipped in also, grabbing at Otto’s heart.

“Otto, look what I have. Something from your sister in France,” Peter called cheerfully, his grin making his moustache dance. If Peter weren’t so content with delivering mail he would have made a great diplomat. He was always happy. Even on Otto’s grumpiest days Peter entered the shop smiling and left the same way. “Open it and let’s see what it is,” he suggested. A package from France was worth a five-minute delay in his deliveries.

Otto took the package, carefully unwrapping it and prying open the wooden box. Nested inside the excelsior he found something more amazing than all the toys in his shop put together.

“What is it?” asked Peter, his voice filled with awe.

“I don’t know,” said Otto. He picked up the delicate item. It easily fit in the palm of his large hand. A glass globe sat on an ornate ceramic base. Inside it was a nostalgic scene of a toyshop that looked like his father’s toyshop on a street in what could have been his village in the Bavarian Alps. Amazing! How had the maker managed that small wonder? The mountains, the snow-capped trees—oh yes, it could have been his village! In front of the toyshop stood a beautiful angel in a white gown with golden...
Copyright © 2010 by Sheila Roberts. All rights reserved.

About the Author: (from Amazon)
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children. She’s been writing since 1989, but she did lots of things before settling in to her writing career, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. Her band days are over, but she still enjoys writing songs. When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

Visit her website at www.sheilasplace.com

*Disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate.


Blodeuedd said...

Great review :) I am gonna read one today. SO happy to have a nice xmas book to read now

bermudaonion said...

I love books like that this time of the year!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This was a fun read.

Hope you have a nice Christmas!

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