Book Review – If the Fates Allow: A Short Story by Rainbow Rowell

eBook, 39 pages
Published November 18th, 2021 by Amazon Original Stories

Genre: Short Story, Romance, Holiday.
My Rating: 3/5


“Social distancing came easily to Reagan. Maybe a little too easily. She’s always liked people better from afar. But Reagan doesn’t want her grandpa to be alone for Christmas this year—he’s already spent too much time on his own in 2020. So she heads back to her hometown with a dish of holiday Jell-O salad, hoping they can have a little normalcy. Hoping it will be safe…

She isn’t expecting to run into the boy next door. Mason is all grown up now. He’s considerate. He’s funny. He doesn’t mind how prickly Reagan is—he maybe even likes it. And it makes Reagan feel like her defenses are falling. She needs her defenses, doesn’t she? In a time when six feet is close enough, how long can they keep their distance?”

My Thoughts

As you can gather from the synopsis, this story discusses the pandemic, social distancing and isolation, so if this isn’t something you want to read about – as we continue to live through it – that’s understandable. For me, however, it’s a story of how two characters made it through the pandemic and what life is like for them after that time.

‘If the Fates Allow’ is the first Amazon short story I have read. I love reading over the holidays but I can find it hard to read a full book throughout as there tends to be a lot going on over the festive period. I downloaded it for free through Prime Reading but you can also borrow it on Kindle Unlimited or buy it for 1.99. (I don’t know if I would recommend the latter though as you can often find full length books for that price on Kindle)

So, I settled on ‘If the Fates Allow’ for a quick festive read.

It begins with the main protagonist, Reagan, on a trip back to her hometown to spend Christmas with her Grandfather, who has spent the year isolating alone after the loss of his wife (which already tugs on the heartstrings). On the walk into the driveway, Reagan slips on the ice, giving way for Mason to appear. He rushes to help, much to Reagan’s dismay, who takes social distancing seriously in a bit to protect the health of Grandfather, but this isn’t the last mention of Mason, of course.

As the story goes on, Reagan finds herself out on her Grandfather’s decking area for a brief break. Next door, Mason is sitting across from her on his family’s property. From here, both Mason and Reagan reminisce on their high school days and their opinions of each other from then. Well, Mason’s opinion of Reagan, she mistakes Mason for his much younger brother in the beginning. They eventually find each other letting their Covid bubble shaped guards down and start to bond over a bowl of the all important Jell-O Salad – a festive food essential for both of their Grandmothers. This is the main setting as the story between the two evolves, until it eventually moves onto Christmas 2021 towards the end.

This story was exactly what I thought it would be. I read it in one sitting, and despite talk of the pandemic it actually made me smile. It was a tale of reunion post-Covid, a sweet relationship between an unlikely pair and an optimistic nod towards the future.

I have given it 3/5 simply because it is a short story, and perhaps can’t evolve as much as you would have liked within it’s 39 pages. As a quick festive hit, it was great, even better when it’s free to borrow through Amazon Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth the 1.99, in my opinion.

This review comes towards the end of Christmas, but if you would like to hold onto the holiday feeling for just one more day during the month of January, or want to avail of your Amazon benefits then this is the short story for you!

Have you read ‘If the Fates Allow’ or any of the Amazon Original Short stories? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!


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