Let It Snow
At first glance, Let it Snow appears to be a fairly typical holiday romance, using the forced proximity trope to put two people in a position where an attraction between them is likely to lead to some sexual shenanigans. But the book has a surprising depth of emotion to it, making it not quite as lighthearted as one might expect while still delivering on its promise of a Christmas themed romance with a happy ending.
Holly and Sam work at a bookstore, and on Dec 23rd, their boss’s ‘open to midnight!’ pre-Christmas shopping hours means someone has to work late. Neither has any other imminent holiday plans, so they agree to stay and hold down the fort. As the snow piles up outside, it soon becomes clear that they won’t be getting out at midnight after all, the roads being already closed. Resigned to spending the night together, imbibing a few shots from the boss’s hidden vodka bottle leads to a loosening of tongues and the admission from both of them that they’ve always found each other attractive. When the power goes out, cocooned in their own private world, they share more than a few secrets with each other. This emotional connection leads right into a physical one. In the cold light of morning, will the fragile bond they’ve made be enough to create something more permanent?
Novellas have the tricky task of trying to provide enough details in a short page-count to forge a connection to the reader and make the characters own interactions believable. Since Holly and Sam aren’t strangers to begin with (having worked together for a while), it makes sense that they’d be willing to open up to each other. However it’s one thing to flirt with a friendly co-worker and quite another to go further, no matter the circumstances. In this case, what Holly and Sam have in common, besides being young (both in their early twenties), is their fractious relationships with their respective parents. For Sam, fallout with his father over his education choices has led to his abandoning college and working as an assistant manager at the bookstore with no clear grasp of what kind of career he really wants to pursue. His choices and lack of communication with his family have led to his estrangement, something he feels keenly with Christmas closing in.
But Holly has definitely had it worse. Growing up with an abusive alcoholic father and a weak mother meant she sometimes bore the brunt of his rages, until at the tender age of seventeen she left home, bitter over the fact that her mother chose her father over her. Her upbringing has led to a distinct emotional wall that prevents her from getting to close to anyone and her dating life is sporadic.
What Sam therefore gives her is two-fold – a chance to tell her story to someone who actually seems to care, and the return of trust in sharing his own . Holly can only wish she had a family like Sam’s who care so much about his future that they argue over it, versus her own parents who never cared at all. It gives Sam second thoughts when he sees his family life from her perspective. Once they’ve shared these painful secrets, their attraction spills over into a tender and very sexy love scene where Sam really does show Holly with his actions what he tells her with his words – that she is beautiful and worth caring about.
Of course, come morning, the worst of the blizzard is over but it doesn’t change what happened between them. It’s up to Holly and Sam to decide whether they’ll chalk it up to a night of unusual circumstances or see it for what it could be – a chance to forge some new Christmas memories. There is a delightful happy ending, and an epilogue that wraps everything up and leaves a warm feeling behind. Let is Snow is quite a lovely story and I’m glad I picked it up.