I just finished ALL IS BRIGHT, having read the companion short story LOVE, ACCIDENTALLY yesterday. I love, love, love the companion shorts idea-- two separate short stories telling two sides of the same story.
I found Elise to be very sympathetic...a sweet girl who'd loved the same guy (Griffin) since they were kids. Her realizations that she didn't love him enough, or in that special way, made her even more likeable. After all, she gave up more than Grif when she let him go. It was heartwarming to see Elise heal and feel the wider circle of familial love in this Christmas short. It's also fantastic to know (in LOVE, ACCIDENTALLY) that Grif is happy. Truly happy.
This short story was about 15 pages, with the balance (more than 15 pages) a preview of a full-length (and pricey) novel by the same author. I see other reviewers commented negatively about this....didn't see the end coming, and so much of the "back matter" was a preview, advertisement for...
I obviously knew that it was a short story, but I didn't anticipate how short it would be. Since "All is Bright" was just a few chapters, I am going to aim my review more at Sarah Pekkanen rather than her story. I am impressed how rich of a history and backdrop she could paint with so few words. Only a few pages in, I was pulled into the life of Elise, the main character. Elise exposes us to a rage of emotions that made me feel immediately sympathetic to her situations. A delightful and funny cast was set around her. My absolute favorite part was reading Nana's character. I adore snarky grandma types that can fix the world's problems with their advice. The part I liked the least was the abrupt ending. I was so surprised where it ended that I felt shocked rather than sad that it was over.
Conclusion: Over all, this is a testament to the incredible author Sarah Pekkanen is. Secretly I am hoping that this is a test story and that she will write a full novel with these...
I knew this was a short story from reading the description, although that may have been updated since some of the early reviews who were surprised that it was, indeed a short story. However, there are times when I want something worth reading, that will not require large chunks of uninterrupted time to enjoy. I sort my books into categories, and one is labeled "short stories" so I can quickly find a little slice of entertainment.
"All Is Bright" was a perfect little story. The characters were developed enough that you felt a connection to them, and understood them. Going by % completion, I was surprised when this story ended. But the more I considered what happened, and the actions taken, the more I liked the final 'message'. Well done. I would certainly recommend.
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