Winter Tales by Kenneth Steven

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Winter Tales by Kenneth Steven

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Holly Lewtas
Reviewed by Holly Lewtas
Summary: Kenneth Steven has produced a stunning collection of short stories that will take you on a tour of the world in the coldest of times. It's the perfect book to kick-start your winter reading as you sit in front of the fire.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Marylebone House
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1910674505

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Upon opening this book you are presented with an eclectic collection of twelve short stories centred around a common theme of Winter. You are taken around the world as you read stories set in a variety of places from Helsinki to New York, Germany to Russia. Kenneth Steven cleverly utilises a key component of short stories - that you can read each story in one sitting - to his advantage as he gives each story an individual focal subject, such as bullying, ensuring that you are reading a distinct story every time you open the book.

I am finding it difficult when it comes to reviewing this book as in a handful of stories you are left without much resolve at the end. It is a merit to the author that you want to continue reading more about the world you've just entered, yet so frustrating to the reader as I was sometimes left with a sense of disappointment. It is difficult to decide whether this is a positive or negative attribute of the book as it would defeat the objective if each short story was lengthened.

With each story I read I tended to find that the first half left me completely baffled by what was happening and where the story was going. Admittedly, I did at times struggle to follow the stories and found myself re-reading pages to make sure that I knew which character was talking, who was who, etc. In saying this though the author goes into such phenomenal detail at times which could be the reason why you are side-tracked from the main body of the story. Contradictory as it may sound, having said that you are left feeling that the story has not been properly ended, you aren't missing out on any aspects when it comes to the descriptions in the stories, whether it was to do with scenery or characters flashbacks.

My favourite part of this collection was that, whilst you were transported to many cities, you were also reading stories dealing with significant topics that seem in a way too big for a short story. These topics weren't your stereotypical ones either. A story I particularly enjoyed, titled The Gift, was heavily focused on the prejudice often displayed towards travellers. Yet, each topic is dealt with so delicately that it perfectly fits in with the flow of the book.

Not only this but I found that even though there was sadness in a lot of the characters' backstories, it was so skilfully incorporated so as not to ruin the overall tone of the story. You didn't end up feeling sorrow for the characters as each character seemed to have an aspect of their life that brought them happiness, whether it was another character or a symbol for them.

Overall, I found this book the perfect read to finish summer with as the weather starts to turn. You can read it in one sitting, or spread the twelve stories out over a period of time, but now is the ideal time to start reading it. You will even feel a bit of Christmas spirit as you read one of my favourites from this collection, A Christmas Child.

Another impressive collection of short stories with a darker twist that I would recommend is The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse.

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Buy Winter Tales by Kenneth Steven at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Winter Tales by Kenneth Steven at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Winter Tales by Kenneth Steven at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Winter Tales by Kenneth Steven at


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