The Snow Globeby Sheila Roberts
Discover an unforgettable holiday treasure in Sheila Roberts’ heartwarming tale of love and laughter, magic and miracles, friendship and coming home…
On a blustery afternoon, Kylie Gray wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe. “There’s a story behind that snow globe,” the antique dealer tells her./i>
Discover an unforgettable holiday treasure in Sheila Roberts’ heartwarming tale of love and laughter, magic and miracles, friendship and coming home…
On a blustery afternoon, Kylie Gray wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe. “There’s a story behind that snow globe,” the antique dealer tells her. The original owner, he explains, was a German toymaker who lost his wife and son right before Christmas. When the grieving widower received the handcrafted snow globe as a Christmas gift, he saw the image of a beautiful woman beneath the glass—a woman who would come into his life, mend his broken heart and bring him back to the world of the living. For years, the snow globe has passed from generation to generation, somehow always landing in the hands of a person in special need of a Christmas miracle.
Kiley could use a miracle herself. This year, all she wants for Christmas is someone to love. A hopeful shake leads her on an adventure that makes a believer out of her. When Kylie shares the story of the snow globe with her best friends—two women with problems of their own—they don’t believe it. But they’re about to discover that at Christmastime, sometimes the impossible becomes possible and miracles really do come true.
"The Snow Globe is an absolutely wonderful holiday treat, full of warmth and charm and second chances. It's the perfect stocking stuffer." Kristin Hannah
“Sheila Roberts makes me laugh. I read her books and come away inspired, hopeful and happy." Debbie Macomber
“Sheila Roberts is one of my favorite authors. Her stories celebrate every woman's hopes and dreams. Reading her books is like a delightful visit with a treasured friend.” Susan Wiggs
"This lighthearted and charming read will appeal to fans of Kristin Hannah's magical, light romances and readers who enjoyed Roberts's previous holiday offerings." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Just like the antique snow globe in this story, there is no better way to share the holiday spirit than to pass this book on to a girlfriend— or anyone in need of a Christmas miracle." Book Page
"Roberts’ charming holiday-themed contemporary story set in the Seattle area offers hope, comfort, and a second chance for those who believe, and a nudge to change the minds of those who don’t." Booklist
“Sheila Roberts will make you laugh and cry with her latest novel about three women facing life’s trials and tribulations.” The National Examiner
“Roberts’ witty and effervescently funny novel will warm hearts. Realistic characters populate the pages of this captivating story, which is a great escape from the hustle and bustle.” Romantic Times (Top Pick)
“The funny novel is all about love …and friendships. But, most of all, it's about learning to love yourself before you can love anyone else.” The Columbus Dispatch
"Roberts manages to avoid genre clichés and crafts a heartfelt novel with nuggets of life truths.” Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin
“Hands-down, this has to be the best Christmas book I have read. The characters are so meticulously developed, I had to double check to see if it really was a work of fiction.” J. Kaye’s Book Blog
- St. Martin's Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.28(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.68(d)
Read an Excerpt
The Snow Globe
Fawn Island, Pacific Northwest
Something drew Kiley Gray to the antique shop. It could have been the carousel horse in the window or the sight of tables and shelves beyond, crammed with cast-off treasures. Whatever was in there calling to her, she knew she had to go in. She was a big believer in that sort of thing.
Actually, Kiley was a big believer, period. She’d been sure Santa was real until she was ten and even after waking up on Christmas Eve to discover her father hanging her filled stocking on the mantel, she kept pretending for another two years. She’d believed in Prince Charming and Mr. Right clear through college. She’d even believed in happy endings until just this past October when her boyfriend Jeremy Horne dumped her at her own Halloween party (how was that for tacky?), announcing that he couldn’t fight his attraction for her sister any longer.
It had been a very scary Halloween.
A bell chimed over the door as Kiley entered the shop and her nose twitched as she caught a whiff of dust.
Another shopper, a middle-aged woman in a stylish wool coat, stood at the counter, raving over the pink Depression glass pitcher she’d found. “And just in the nick of time,” she added. “I’m going to have to dash to make that ferry.” With hurried thanks, she took the piece the shop owner had carefully wrapped and hurried to the door, stuffing bills in her wallet as she went.
One fluttered to the floor and Kiley scooped it up. It was a fifty, maybe not a lot for this woman, who was well dressed and obviously had money to burn, but to Kiley it was a fortune. “Wait. You dropped this.”
“Oh. Thanks,” said the woman, barely looking at it. She stuffed it in her purse and hurried out the door.
The shopkeeper, a portly man with thinning, gray hair, smiled at Kiley. “People get in too big of a hurry.”
“I can’t afford to be in that big of a hurry,” she said. She probably couldn’t afford to be in here at all. But browsing didn’t cost anything, she told herself as she drifted to where the carousel horse stood frozen in mid-prance. Who had owned this and how had it wound up languishing here? Kiley gave it a comforting pat then wandered past a table overflowing with nautical knickknacks toward an antique sideboard displaying tarnished silver and faded china, waiting for their glory days to return.
Then she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She turned and moved to the far side of the shop for a closer look. Tucked behind a clock with a brass horse and a chipped crystal vase sat an old snow globe. She might never have noticed it if it hadn’t gotten caught by a stray sunbeam that managed to slip past the gray clouds outside and in through the window.
She picked it up, charmed by the scene inside the thick glass: a toyshop in the center of an Alpine village. She gave the globe a shake and watched the snow swirl around the little angel standing guard in front of the shop. It was simply too charming not to buy. Anyway, purchasing treasures was an integral part of any girls’ getaway weekend so, in a way, she was almost obligated.
She took it to where the shop owner sat behind his cash register, now reading a book. “I didn’t see a price tag on this. I’m just wondering what you want for it.”
She gulped when he told her. Not exactly a wise purchase for a girl who had a steady job, let alone one who was now unemployed. Maybe purchasing treasures wasn’t such an integral part of a girls’ getaway weekend. At least not this treasure, not this weekend. Heck, at that price, never.
The man looked over his reading glasses at her and smiled. “But, I think, for the right buyer, I could come down in price.”
Not enough, she was sure. Still, she couldn’t resist asking, “What does the right buyer look like?” Hopefully, a skinny woman edging toward thirty with unruly brown hair, hazel eyes, a fashionably full mouth, and a nose she hated.
“It’s not exactly about looks,” the shop owner said. “It’s more about where you are in life. You see, this little snow globe has quite a story to tell.”
“I like stories,” said Kiley, leaning her elbows on the counter.
“This one starts back when snow globes were first being made. Nobody knows the exact date, but the first one appeared at the Paris Exposition in 1878, and by 1879 at least five companies were producing snow globes and selling them throughout Europe. The woman who brought this to me claims it was one of them, so you can see it’s very valuable.”
“If it’s that valuable I wonder why she didn’t take it to Antiques Roadshow,” Kiley mused. It seemed like the kind of thing that would go for a king’s ransom at Sotheby’s.
The man nodded his agreement. “She had her reasons. You see, its age isn’t the only thing that makes it valuable.” He removed his reading glasses and set aside his book. “Would you like to hear more?”
“I’m not in a hurry,” said Kiley. “But I hope this story has a happy ending. I’m kind of in need of happy endings these days.”
“Are you? Well, you be the judge.”
Chicago, December 1880
It had been one year since Otto Schwartz had lost his whole world. And he was still alive, if one could call moving through each day like a ghost living. This particular day he stood at his toyshop window, watching snow carpet the street. Delivery wagons passed, people walked by with paper-wrapped parcels, happily shopping for Christmas.
Two children, a boy and a girl bundled in heavy coats, hats, and mittens, ran ahead of their mother and stopped in front of the shop window to peer at Otto’s display of porcelain dolls, tin toys, and stuffed animals. They pressed their faces to the glass and pointed excitedly. One even smiled at Otto. He tried to smile back. A ghost of a smile.
The woman caught up with them, keeping her face averted. Taking the children by the hand, she led them off down the street. He could hardly blame her for not wanting to look at him. His toys called to one and all to step inside and find fun and laughter. But once inside people found Otto and they hurriedly left, recalling more pressing errands.
He watched them walk away and sighed. Children and toys were meant to go together. Men who owned toyshops should have children. And wives.
The sigh became a sob. He turned his back on the snowy Chicago street scene, then dug a handkerchief out of the pocket of his black suit and blew his nose. At least he’d tried to smile.
But the effort was coming late. People expected a man to mourn when he lost his wife and baby—a full year in black and no social engagements (as if he had wanted any)—but they also expected a man to continue to run his business, to set aside his sorrow and take care of his customers. Otto couldn’t even care for his own bleeding heart. How could he be expected to care if little Johann would like a wooden marionette or to take an interest in which porcelain doll little Ingrid would want most? At first he had been bereft. He had closed up the shop and shut himself inside his darkened house. Everyone in the city’s German community had understood. But finally his sister had shoved Brötchen, sliced ham, and an egg under his nose and commanded that he eat. And that he then go and reopen his shop.
“You are not the first man to lose a wife in childbirth. You will not be the last,” she’d said sternly. “Liesel and Gottlieb are in heaven.”
“And I am in hell,” he had growled, causing his sister to gasp.
She had recovered quickly, shaking a finger at him and retorting, “Then I suggest you crawl out. It is time. You have a business to run.”
And so he had gone from bereft to morose, and his friends and neighbors tried to be patient. But when he went from morose to ill-tempered people failed to understand and he lost many a customer. Now Christmas was right around the corner and Otto was trying to remember how to smile. Except that was almost impossible with the snow coming down outside, reminding him of happier times in the village in the Bavarian alps where he had grown up, with people strolling by outside on their way to warm, happy homes.
Peter the mail carrier entered the shop, bringing with him the scent of snow. From somewhere outside the sound of a child’s laugh slipped in also, grabbing at Otto’s heart.
“Otto, look what I have. Something from your sister in France,” Peter called cheerfully, his grin making his moustache dance. If Peter weren’t so content with delivering mail he would have made a great diplomat. He was always happy. Even on Otto’s grumpiest days Peter entered the shop smiling and left the same way. “Open it and let’s see what it is,” he suggested. A package from France was worth a five-minute delay in his deliveries.
Otto took the package, carefully unwrapping it and prying open the wooden box. Nested inside the excelsior he found something more amazing than all the toys in his shop put together.
“What is it?” asked Peter, his voice filled with awe.
“I don’t know,” said Otto. He picked up the delicate item. It easily fit in the palm of his large hand. A glass globe sat on an ornate ceramic base. Inside it was a nostalgic scene of a toyshop that looked like his father’s toyshop on a street in what could have been his village in the Bavarian Alps. Amazing! How had the maker managed that small wonder? The mountains, the snow-capped trees—oh yes, it could have been his village! In front of the toyshop stood a beautiful angel in a white gown with golden hair and blue eyes. She looked just like Liesel. Swallowing the lump in his throat, Otto set the work of art on his counter.
“Those Frenchmen,” said Peter, shaking his head in amazement. “What will they think of next?” He motioned to the note-paper still lying in the excelsior. “Read the note and see what it’s called.”
Otto picked up the paper with trembling fingers and read.
I know it has been more than a year and you still grieve deeply. Henri commissioned this water globe to be made especially for you in the hope that it would bring you comfort.
“A water globe? Is there water in there?” Peter picked up the globe to examine it.
Otto frowned at him, took the globe from his hand and set it back on the counter, then returned to the letter.
Henri has a friend who makes these in his factory. They are becoming quite popular. They are sometimes called snow globes, a term I much prefer. If you shake it you will see why. Perhaps one day you would like to sell snow globes in your shop. But for now, we want you to have this special one to keep, in memory of your dear Liesel and the baby. Of course, this cannot bring them back, but perhaps it can bring you hope. I have prayed that it will.
Your loving sister, Berthe
“Shake it,” urged Peter.
Otto picked up the snow globe and gave it a tentative jiggle.
“Will you look at that!” Peter exclaimed. “I’ve never seen such a thing in all my life.”
Neither had Otto. He stared in amazement as a tiny blizzard swirled around the angel. The snow settled and he shook the globe again, starting a fresh flurry. He wanted to cry. Or laugh. Instead, he smiled.
Peter spread the news of Otto’s unusual present throughout the community and soon people were venturing into the store to see the amazing snow globe and ooh and ah over the little scene inside.
“It’s lovely,” said Mrs. Schmidt. “And the angel reminds me of your wife.”
Otto sighed. “Yes, she does.” And later that day, after the customers had all left, he couldn’t resist holding the thing and gazing inside at the little angel, wishing she could speak to him.
But what was this? The angel’s hair, somehow, appeared darker. Was he imagining it? He shook the globe and started the tiny flakes spinning. Once more they settled at the angel’s feet. Her hair still looked darker. Perhaps it had always been dark. Perhaps it had only seemed lighter because of wishful thinking on his part.
Disappointed, he set the snow globe down, wishing it would show him what he wanted to see.
Christmas was two weeks away when a man and woman entered the store. Strangers. Except with her dark hair and sweet smile the woman wasn’t a stranger. Otto realized he had seen her before, inside the snow globe. He tried not to stare, but it was almost impossible.
The man spoke. “My sister and I are looking for a present for our little sister. We thought, perhaps, you could help us.”
“Of course,” said Otto, straightening his coat. “I will be happy to. Are you visiting?”
“No,” said the woman. “Our family has moved here recently. From Garmisch-Partenkirchen.”
She had the softest voice, like an angel, thought Otto, and smiled.
Fawn Island, The Pacific Northwest
Kiley smiled at the shop owner after he’d finished his story. “I take it she was the angel Otto saw in the snow globe.”
He grinned. “So the story goes. Two Christmases later Otto had both a new wife and a new baby.” He motioned to the lovely antique sitting on the counter. “That was passed down through Otto’s family from generation to generation, always bringing hope when someone needed it most. At least that’s what Mrs. Ackerman says.”
“The woman you got it from,” said Kiley and he nodded. “But why would she let it go?”
“She’s Otto’s last descendant, and she has no children. She felt it was time for it to pass on to fresh hands. But not necessarily to a collector.” He gave a little shrug. “So she sent it off with a hope and a prayer that the snow globe will work a holiday miracle for someone new.” He cocked an eyebrow. “Would you say you qualify?”
No boyfriend, no job? “I’d say I’m overqualified.” Kiley looked at the little globe sitting on its ornate base. Costly as it was, she was sure it was underpriced. Even if it had gone for a small fortune at some fancy auction house it probably would have been underpriced. It symbolized hope, and how did you put a price tag on hope? She chewed her lip, trying to figure out how she could possibly afford it. Of course, she couldn’t. But, darn, she needed it!
The shop owner smiled. “Tell you what. I’ll take fifty percent off.”
Fifty percent off—it was a sign. How could she refuse? She had just swallowed the last of her doubts and handed over her charge card when the bell over the shop door jingled. “We came to save you from yourself,” said a familiar voice. Suz.
She turned to see her friends Suzanne Stowe and Allison Wright entering the shop. Suzanne was small; Allison was taller and about three sizes bigger. Both were blondes. A gust of wind whipped in with them, bringing the smell of Northwest rain into the stuffy little shop.
Suzanne looked at the assortment of china, knickknacks, and mysterious kitchen tools from another era, and wrinkled her perfect nose, hunching inside her North Face jacket like a turtle pulling into its shell. She didn’t like the smell of anything old. Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel were more her style.
But Allison looked eagerly around like a kid on a treasure hunt. She joined Kiley at the counter, holding out a disposable cup and sending the aroma of coffee dancing around Kiley’s nose. “For energy.”
“I don’t need a latte, really,” insisted Kiley, feeling guilty that her friends were picking up the tab for all her treats.
“Sure you do,” said Suzanne. She started a fast stroll down an aisle, a petite vision in Northwest casual, her jeans showing off perfect thighs, her blond ponytail swinging.
Allison pointed to the bubble-wrapped snow globe the shop owner was slipping into a bag. “Did you get something cool?”
Kiley could feel a blush race across her face. She’d almost backed out of this weekend with her two best friends, claiming to be too broke, and now here she was spending a fortune on something her common sense insisted she didn’t need. “He gave me a deal,” she explained.
Allison smiled at her. “It’s okay, Kiles. After all you’ve been through you deserve a treat.”
“It’s more than a treat,” insisted Kiley. It was…well, she wasn’t sure. She only knew it was somehow meant for her.
Suzanne had finished her quick tour of the store and now she joined them at the counter. “I’m hungry. Anybody ready for lunch?”
Allison nodded and followed Suzanne to the door and Kiley thanked the shop owner and hurried after them.
“I can’t believe you found something in that musty old place,” said Suzanne as they started for their favorite restaurant.
“Wait till you see it,” said Kiley.
“Okay, I’m dying of curiosity,” said Allison after they were seated inside the Chanterelle and had ordered the soup of the day and some of the restaurant’s herbed bread. “Let’s see your bargain.”
Kiley pulled out her purchase and told them its legend.
The waiter arrived with a basket of warm bread. Allison started to reach for it, but then, true to her resolve to not get carried away with the carbs, picked up the snow globe instead and jiggled it. All three women watched the tiny snowflakes drift around the little angel. “It is lovely,” Allison murmured as she set it on the table.
“But what a bunch of bull,” Suzanne said. Her cell phone rang and she reached into her purse.
Allison frowned. “I thought you turned that off.”
“I had to make a call,” Suzanne said defensively. Suzanne always had to make a call. If not to check in on her five-year-old daughter, Bryn, then to see how things were going with her latest real estate deal.
Like Kiley, Suzanne had come close to canceling on their weekend. Money wasn’t a problem for her, but her busy schedule was the sworn enemy of girlfriend time. It happened a lot lately and Allison had finally put her foot down, insisting they all go so they could recharge and reconnect.
Allison’s frown grew deeper when she realized Suzanne was talking to the agent she partnered with at Dreamscape Realty.
Getting the message, Suzanne finished her business quickly. “There. Done,” she announced.
“Prove it and turn off your cell,” Allison commanded.
Suzanne practically paled. “I can’t. What if there’s an emergency?”
“At home? Guy can handle it,” Allison said.
“I know. I meant at work.”
“That’s why you have Julie,” Kiley reminded her.
Suz turned off her phone with a frown.
Allison smiled, happy to have won the battle. “We need this, and it’s not a getaway if you’re not getting away.”
“Fine,” said Suzanne, “but tonight I’m checking my messages.” She picked up Kiley’s snow globe and examined it. “This is kind of cool,” she admitted.
“And who knows,” added Allison, “maybe it will bring something great into your life this holiday season.”
Kiley sighed. “I almost wish I could climb into it and stay. At least until after Thanksgiving.” Then she wouldn’t have to face her unfaithful boyfriend and her sister the traitor.
“I’d join you in a heartbeat,” Allison said with a sigh. “I’d put my grandma in there, too. Gosh, I hate to face the holidays without her.”
“You’ll get through them,” Suzanne assured her.
Kiley took the snow globe back and studied it. “What is it about these things that makes you wish you could live in one?”
“Escape,” said Suzanne. The waiter set steaming bowls of mushroom soup in front of them and she inhaled deeply and smiled. “Everyone has times when they don’t like their life.”
“Like every time I have to hang out with my family,” Allison said with a shake of her head.
Kiley could understand Allison wanting to escape. She had seen just enough of her friend’s family to know she didn’t want to see any more. Well, except for Allison’s grandma. But Suz? That seemed hard to believe.
“Maybe that’s why we love things like this,” Allison mused. “They give us hope that our lives can be different, better.”
The little snow globe would have to work pretty hard to get Kiley to that point. But, hey, she still believed in miracles.
THE SNOW GLOBE. Copyright © 2010 by Sheila Rabe. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
Meet the Author
Sheila Roberts is the author of On Strike for Christmas, Small Change, Bikini Season, and other bestselling books. Before settling into her writing life, Roberts did lots of other things, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. Now, when she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences, she can be found writing about the things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate. She lives on a lake in Washington.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is a sweet Christmas book about love, friendships, family and miracles. Kylie is feeling alone right before Christmas. She's lost her job, her boyfriend has left her, and her friends are too busy to really include her in their activities. She decides to treat herself to an antiques store trip, where she finds a snow globe that she fancies, but should she spend some of her dwindling money to buy it. The store owner convinces her with a story of it's history, that it is special for people who need it. When she takes it home, she realizes that it has special powers. She eventually shares it with her doubting friends, and they too find it does great things for them too. I found this book to be an uplifting read. Very creative thinking and just a perfect read for the miracles of the season. Though it is a small book, the simplicity makes it a fun read. We love snow globes in our house, which might have added to enjoyment to this fantasy read!!
This is the first book I've read by this author. Though the premise of the story had promise, it wasn't carried through. Instead of being uplifting and inspiring, it was depressing to me.
Wonderful book. Highly recommended.
Light and fluffy and short but fun to read in anticipation for the Christmas holidays.
Love Sheila Roberts book. Cute read.
Like this author. Nice stories that get right to the point. Easy but nice read.
An impulse buy of a beautiful old snow globe changes a woman's life and the lives of her friends. This book is a quick and easy read, perfect for the holidays when you want some light reading in between the hustle and bustle. It is a feel good book that leaves you wondering what you would do. Would be a great book for young teens or even as a chapter read for younger children, but satisfying for adults as well.
Review by Jen: I enjoyed this quick read. The plot was interesting, as well as the three main characters. The story is about three best friends, who are all at different places in life when it comes to relationship and careers. Kiley's just been dumped by her boyfriend for her sister. Suzanne is has a family, but is more career driven. And Allison is dreading spending the holidays with her family from hell. They pass between them a snow globe that seems to deliver Christmas miracles. The only one problem I had with this story was how short it was. I felt it could have used a few more pages as some of the stories didn't get as developed as they could have been. I came away from the book wishing there had been more. That said, I did still enjoy the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good holiday read.
I've just started reading Sheila Roberts and have found her to be a great writer. All her novels seem to hit home as far as characters are concerned. Seems like you don't want her books to end - a very talented author. This book was very enjoyable and had a very uplifting feel to it - as do her others. Highly recommend this one!
I just finished The Snow Globe, good read. We meet Kiley who I liked right off. Kind, honest, a little perky but not annoyingly so, and down on her luck. She wanders in and meets an antique dealer who's very much like a fairy godfather. An item with a past falls into her hands and she finds out there is true magic after all. I loved learning the past of the globe and then seeing new legends unfold, each a chapter in the lives of the three friends. Kiley, then Suzanne and finally Allison. The snow globe touching each of them in different ways. Kiley's family is great (such wonderful fun) aside from her ex and sister, who were both highly unlikable. But we fast get over that with the introduction of Craig. From here we move to brash, workaholic and sometimes snobby control freak Suzanne. There are times when she's very unlikeable, but it's not as it seems. She's actually much deeper, and grows as the magic works it's way through her life. There were some intense moments packed in Suz's section of the story. When we finally get to Allison, all I can say is most of the people in her life are a wreck. She has it the worst. Which is why I suppose the ending of her story felt a bit rushed and anticlimactic. I'd like to have seen a little more about her and events. Overall a good read and I loved the ending. It left me wanting a sequel so we can find out what happened and who found it.
Kylie is down on her luck this holiday season. Her boyfriend dumped her (for her sister!) and she's recently unemployed. During a girls' weekend with her two best friends, she wanders into an antique shop. A snow globe catches her eye and the shop owner tells her its history. Believing in miracles, Kylie buys it and hopes it will bring good things into her life. As she prepares to spend the holidays with her family and her ex-boyfriend, she begins to see the scenery change within the snow globe. A toy shop is the main fixture and Kylie begins searching for the shop. When she finds it, she's surprised that the owner is a young man who is single and very cute. With the help of the snow globe, Kylie's holiday will be merry and bright. Suzanne is a busy woman: she's a wife, a mother and runs her own real estate company. She wants to have the perfect home which leaves her harried and always on the go. Having her doubts about the snow globe to begin with, she's even more skeptical when Kylie gifts it to her. One thing leads to another and Suzanne finds herself involved in a freak accident that leaves her immobile. Perhaps this is exactly what she needs to gain perspective. Alison is facing the holidays alone without her beloved grandmother. Her mother died when she was young and spending the holidays with her family is something she dreads. The snow globe helps her see maybe she isn't as alone as she thinks she is.