Review: Snowflake Tiara, by Angela Breidenbach and Valerie Comer

Snowflake Tiara, by Angela Breidenbach and Valerie ComerSnowflake Tiara, by Angela Breidenbach and Valerie Comer (Gems of Wisdom, 2014)

Two heart-warming novellas, linked through time: one historical, one contemporary. In 1889, Montana is granted statehood, and debutante Calista Blythe enters the inaugural Snowflake Pageant because the prize money ($100) would allow her to buy the freedom of a 6-year-old indentured servant she’s rescued from an abusive situation. But what if the handsome event organizer discovers Calista is illegally harbouring a runaway?

In 2014, Montana celebrates its 125th anniversary, and the Snowflake Pageant is revived. Calista Blythe’s descendant, Marisa Hiller, is a former model who works for a community-supported agriculture group. Winning the tiara would give her a platform to speak about the importance of healthy, natural foods—but the pageant throws her into company with the photographer who broke her heart.

I knew nothing about pageants except the stereotyped label of “beauty contest.” It was interesting to learn a bit about what these events really entail in terms of activities, motivation and purpose.  Author Angela Breidenbach is a former Mrs. Montana, so I trust the details to be accurate.

Naturally, contests of any sort are rife with competition, and in romantic novellas that includes vying for the heart of the handsome lead character. The historical novella is rich with gorgeous gowns and the burden of street children (Helena, Montana, is the final stop on the Orphan Train).

The present-day story has a more immediate feel and the world is much smaller. The plight of hungry children is still close to the 2014 pageant contestant’s heart. Now those children are both local and the ones she’s met through mission work in Kenya. Marisa is passionate about local, organic food—and about making it available to low-income families.

I enjoyed both stories. Favourite line:

Seeing him again created a pothole in her road, but she’d get back up to speed in a minute. (Marisa’s thoughts about Jase) [Page 184, Kindle version]

In each case, the Snowflake Pageant begins in December and winners are announced on Christmas Eve. Snowflake Tiara is a good read any time, but would make an ideal respite from the busyness leading up to Christmas. The reminder to care for others less fortunate than ourselves might prompt us to reach out in our own communities over the holiday season.

Angela Breidenbach and Valerie Comer make a good writing team. I’ll be interested to see if they follow this with other collaborative projects.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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