Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Daniel Wu’s life is wonderful. He has an amazing family in his partner, Jeff, and their adopted daughter. The only thorn in his happiness is Abby’s biological father, Nick, who can’t seem to let go of the past.
Ridden by guilt for trying to tear apart Jeff’s family a year prior, Nick Mariani struggles to find a place for himself in a future that seems bleak. With the backdrop of a holiday vacation, he embarks on a journey of redemption. An unexpected surprise is Leon, who flirts shamelessly from the moment they meet. Leon brings Nick hope, but the shadows of the past threaten to swallow all that newfound brightness.
I have to be honest – I didn’t realize this was the third in a series until right now, after I finished reading it. So while the Nick that I got to know here talks about the mistakes he has made and is trying hard to overcome what he’s done. Because he’s been in therapy and he’s truly working on being part of a family again, his suffering is all the more poignant.
Jeff and Daniel are the parents of Jeff’s niece, Abby. She was legally adopted after her mother, Lauren, died in childbirth and Nick, Lauren’s husband, took off, unable to handle the death of his wife. To make matters more difficult, Jeff and Lauren were twins who’s best friend forever was, you guessed it, Nick.
When Nick first returned he was awful to Daniel and said some terrible things. Because Jeff is a good and decent person, he has given Nick another chance to prove he can be part of this family. And Nick is trying. They are all going to a resort over Christmas with the elementary school chess teams to compete. Daniel is a little leery about this – what will it be like with Nick around all the time for two weeks? “I guess deep down I was expecting Jeff to have a me-shaped hole in his life. Instead, he was happy with you and I felt robbed.” He’s honest about how he felt and he just wants to be part of something again.
Nick is on his best behavior. The thing is, this is a man who was crushed by the grief of losing his wife in childbirth. “…I thought how lucky it was that I wasn’t holding the baby. And then I thought that maybe the baby deserved it. It had killed my wife, after all, hadn’t it?” He knew right away that wasn’t an appropriate response, but in grief you aren’t always rational.
It is at the resort that Nick meets Leon, another twin. He is so attracted to Leon but can’t go there because in his head, “There it was, another twin for me to murder.” Of course, Leon knows that isn’t what happened – Lauren died in childbirth – but again, you can’t control the guilt you feel on losing someone so important to you.
I liked the relationship between Daniel and Jeff particularly. The love they have comes through with every touch, every word. Nick has to work hard to see where he fits anywhere but he does try. For me, the focus was more on the evolution of Nick with a lesser emphasis on the developing relationship of Nick and Leon. Leon is a great character and knows what he wants. He is good for Nick. Just as a random note, I loved how the title related to the book.
I would recommend this very much. I am hesitant to go back and read the second book, Family In a Storm, because I am afraid the Nick of that book (pretty horrible) will do irreparable damage to my vision of the Nick of this book.
The cover by Natasha Snow, referencing the Snowdrop, is simple and perfect.
ebook, 70 pages
Published November 18th 2019 by NineStar Press
Edition LanguageE nglish
Series Snow Globes #3