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Publisher's Summary

Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he's again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he started. As Jacob struggles to reconnect with his father and brothers, he realizes that his lover, Craig Zhao, was the only thing filling his empty heart and standing between him and ghosts of the past. It will take the power of love - from his family, from Craig, and from himself - for Jacob to see that his life truly is filled with the promise of what can be.
A novella from the Dreamspinner Press 2011 Advent Calendar package I'll Be Home for Christmas
©2011 Mary Calmes (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Belen on 01-21-16

Emotion packed novella

Any additional comments?

I love that there's quite a bit of emotion packed into this novella and that it also includes a sprinkling of angst and some heated sexy times. If I have one complaint it's that I would have liked for the end to have been fleshed out a bit more, but that's more about me being greedy and wanting more of these characters than anything else.

Please note: This is classic Calmes - where the main character - Eli/Jake - is beautiful and beloved by all, and...well if you're a Calmes fan you know how it goes. Just sayin'.

Robert Nieman is a new to me narrator. I enjoyed his style; he was really good at conveying the emotional depth of the story and characters and he brought out the angst of the storyline without making it a caricature.

I'm a bit bummed that he didn't really do character voices, which would usually worry me, but he delineated enough in his tone that I wasn't confused when multiple characters were conversing. Sure, I would have preferred a bit more on that end, but it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the narration on a whole.

All in all I enjoyed it and wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tams (TTC Books and more) on 02-16-18

When the past defines the future

What made the experience of listening to What Can Be the most enjoyable?

Nieman's narration, of course, bringing these characters to life.

What was one of the most memorable moments of What Can Be?

When Craig comes for Eli.

Which character – as performed by Robert Nieman – was your favorite?

Eli - Calmes wrote this skiddish young man that's afraid to love, afraid to form attachments and Nieman captured all that raw emotion with voice, tones and inflections.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?


Any additional comments?

As a teenager, Eli accompanies his mother on summer trip, leaving his father and two older brothers behind, and never returns. Many years later, Jake (Eli) is on the move again, leaving the home he shares with his long term partner, Craig, unable to explain exactly why he left. Coincidentally, Jake returns home and is reminded of his life as Eli, which also reminds him of why he's living his life as Jake in the first place. Everything comes full circle when the separation from Craig takes it's toll on Jake and the nightmares he thought he'd overcome resurface.

Mary Calmes has this uncanny ability to weave stores together for beautifully broken characters and pull you into the story from the start. What Can Be starts with Jake returning to his childhood home, and then slowly shows you the circumstance that prevented him from going back sooner through flashbacks and memories. I think what I enjoyed most about this story was the narration from Jake's POV throughout. The words showing his feelings and emotions... how what happened affected him long term and how the only way he can truly heal is to first, be honest with his father and brothers, and second, with Craig. He cannot do it alone.

Narrated by Robert Nieman and I absolutely loved his approach to the characters and emotions in the story. I could actually feel what Jake was feeling when he had the nightmare and broke down, being picked up and put back together in Craig's arms. I won't say this is a fast, fun story because it's emotional and dark at times. But I really enjoyed the listening experience between the stellar writing and the amazing narration that really brought these characters to life.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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