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A Snow Garden and Other Stories Paperback – 3 Nov 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (3 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784162043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784162047
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"Full of bittersweet Christmas moments. A real gem." (Good Housekeeping)

"These stories are heartwarming." (Imogen Lycett Green Daily Mail)

"Joyce is warm and very funny, and she has a merciless eye for those nightmare moments when weaknesses are exposed and everything is called into question." (Kate Saunders The Times)

"The perfect tonic for tinsel-itis, [A Snow Garden] is laced with quietly devastating observations on love and marriage." (Hephzibah Anderson Observer)

"As sparkling and Christmassy as a selection box. " (Sunday Mirror)

Book Description

The perfect gift: a collection of seven Christmas stories from the author of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY & THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSY.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
A Snow Garden and other stories is a book of seven short stories, which generally all have a small link with each other, with the exception of The Boxing Day Ball, which just felt a bit out of place. But I also felt that one was the weakest story of the bunch.

Each story is no more than arond 30-40 pages, a gives a snap shot in time of someone's Christmas. Each situation is different but there is a common image through most of the stories. I also liked how the first story A Faraway Smell of Lemon and the last Trees had the most in common, almost as though there was a circle in effect.

My favourite of the stories was Christmas at the Airport, in which planes are all grounded on Christmas day, and there are lots of people stranded at the airport. There is also a heavily pregnant woman, and a family with the surname King. This is the story where you see quick snapshots of how a whole variety of people deal with being stuck at an airport on Christmas day.

The stories take you from a few days before 25th December right up until New Years Eve, and in quite a few of them you sense there is some sort of supernatural or magical presence, to help things along, but its only a passing feeling, and one I can't quite explain.

I really enjoyed the couple in The Marriage Manual, who are perceived to be a perfect couple, arguing while trying to build their sons Christmas present. The arguments are quite funny.

All of the stories are a bit different, all enjoyable and some will appeal to you more than others. I loved the cover of this book, and its a very relevant picture to some of what is mentioned in passing during the stories.

I had a hard cover copy and feel with it being a bit smaller (dimensions) than your normal book, it could be quite a good Christmas present, especially for someone who perhaps only has time to sit and read a short story at a time.
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Format: Hardcover
‘The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy’ was one of my favourite reads last year, so I was uber excited when I got Rachel Joyce’s new collection of short stories to read. As I’ve been reading Christmas books for the last month, I simply couldn’t wait to check these stories.

‘A Snow Garden and Short Stories’ is definitely a festive must read. It’s so unlike any other Christmas books I’ve ever read. There are seven stories included and each and one of them is so special and magical and nothing like the festive stories I’ve read so far. Unlike most Christmas, that are fluffy and cheery, ‘A Snow Garden and Other Stories’ brings seven stories that are so memorable and poignant. The characters felt so real I thought they’d jump off the pages.

The stories are short yet amazingly complex and each one of them brings a huge message about life, family and love. And of course, all happen during Christmas and you can absolutely feel the Christmas spirit and that Christmas magic. The stories are full of clever symbolism, speaking about big life truths and making you think about your own life and the choices you make. I especially loved the first story, ‘A Faraway Smell of Lemon’ which got me crying big ugly tears. I found the story so emotional and heart breaking, I had tears rolling down my face while I imagined poor Binny and everything she’s going through.

What I also loved is how clever they were all connected. Some of the characters who had their own story, would even for just briefly appear in the next one, entwining these stories into one beautiful and unique fictional world. I also loved the mysterious girl in red coat which appears in every story, either on a commercial, or a banner or in the garden.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of Rachel Joyce's stories, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry being my favourite, so I obviously could not wait to dive into A Snow Garden and other short Chrismassy stories. You only have to take one look at this absolutely stunning cover to want to pick this up and read it,

A Snow Garden and other stories is a collection of seven short stories that start just before Christmas and lead up to the new year. Although these stories are all separate, they are all linked by something, which somehow made them feel extra special and almost like a full length novel. I adored how these stories entertwined with one another and how they are centred around Christmas and New Year.

What never fails to amaze me is how Rachel manages to convey emotions into words, it is rare that you will meet a bunch of characters and know exactly how what they are thinking and feeling. There is always a raw edge to Rachel's characters and even though we only meet some of them briefly, you will feel like you know them as friends and be able to relate to them in some way. Although these stories have a melancholy feel around the festive period, they still manage to leave you feeling uplifted as each story has a wonderful little message to take away. Rachel just has this ability to transport you into a story no matter how short and she leaves you with a cosy, warm feeling at the end.

I actually read one of the short stories, A Faraway Smell of Lemon last year, but was delighted to see it put in with this wonderful collection of short stories. It was a treat to be reintroduced to some old characters and one story that is linked to Harold Fry.

Beautifully told, the only thing I have left to say is to go and pick this book up and read it for yourself. It will also make for a perfect festive gift.
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