24 January 2015

Snow Globe by L.E. Franks

 Kris Hamilton escaped the rat race in LA to live his dream of owning an art studio and making snow globes in a Christmas-themed town in northern Minnesota. But life in a tiny town isn't as peaceful as advertised, and being treated like an outsider is making Kris’s Tourette's flare up. When he inadvertently offends Tyr Tollefson—a beautiful blond giant of a man—Kris is ready to chuck it all. But he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Tyr's cousin Bun, who shows them the magic of Christmas and gives them both a lesson in love and acceptance.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package "Heartwarming".
 **Possible Spoilers**
Snow Globe was a short story (58 minutes). I both liked and disliked different aspects of this audiobook.
The narration: The narrator has a soft Scottish burr in his voice which actually made me think the story took place in Scotland. Until he mentioned that Kris moved from California to Minnesota. So we have a story about a Christmasy town in northern Minnesota told in a Scottish accent. While his voice was very nice to listen to, it was difficult to place as I had to remind myself often that this was in Minnesota, not Scotland. Dave Gillies is good about giving all the different characters their own voice, so once he’d used that person’s voice more than once, you could recognize who was speaking – I love it when a narrator can do that.
The story: While this story was only 58 minutes long, the first 30 minutes or so seemed to lag. I think it was because while there was some showing, it felt like a litany of telling. Kris did this and Tyr did that, Bun did this and Uncle Eddie did that. About 30 minutes into it though, I forgot all of that, finally caught up in the story. Kris is an artist who moved to the small town due to its love of Christmas. He makes unique snow globes and thinks his art fill fit perfectly in the hamlet. Only the people reject him, though whether it’s because he’s gay or because of his Tourette’s syndrome I was never sure. Probably a mixture of both. Kris and Tyr’s first meet is a bit disastrous as circumstances scare Kris into a litany of words pouring out of his mouth and Tyr thinks he’s just being crude.
There were a few parts of the story I didn’t understand.
1: At the beginning, the doctor encouraged Tyr to put his cousin in a home for the mentally disabled as his uncle wasn’t expected to live much longer. By the end of the story, he kind of saved the day by telling Kris that Tyr was going to do just that – almost as if he knew by doing so that Kris would do what he could to help Tyr.
2: Bun, Tyr’s mentally disabled cousin, was loved by the town. But when the news came to light that she and her father were going to be put in homes, nobody leapt to help. It was almost like they would be glad to see the end of them. Through Kris’s insistence, he got one man to help him cut down a Christmas tree for the family, but that seemed to be all the help he was able to gather. If the town loved Bun as much as we were led to believe, why would they not lift a hand to help?
In the end, Kris and Tyr do end up together, but much seemed left up in the air to me. Do they stay in that negative town? Do Bun and Eddie stay with them or get put in a home? There was too much unanswered. I’d already fallen in love with all four of them: Kris, Tyr, Bun, & Eddie. But we only know that Kris & Tyr have declared themselves, not what actually happens after that.
A satisfying and yet not satisfying ending. I will admit, the story leaves you with a warm feeling because Tyr not only accepts Kris’s condition, he understands and loves it as much as he seems to love Kris. I just wish we knew if Bun and Eddie were going to have a happy ending as well.


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