Short Story Saturday Review 004: ‘The Best One Yet’ by Kelley Hunter

Welcome to the fourth in the Short Story Saturday review series. This week’s review is of ‘The Best One Yet (a holiday short story)’ by Kelley Hunter.

Recently I helped a customer in my Red Cross shop try to find a third book (they’ve been ‘buy 2 get one free’ for a while) and another customer suggested a novel that happened to be Christmas-related. The original lady refused, saying that she couldn’t read Christmas stories at any other time of the year. She has a point but sometimes it gives you the fuzzy feeling that those festivities evoke and we could all do with a bit of that. And this story is no different.

Right from the introduction I warmed to the author. She donates all the proceeds to charity and says that if the book is sampled or borrowed then she’s still grateful because “A story is nothing but sorry little words on a page unless it’s allowed to come to life by being shared and read”.

Great hooks are often the shortest and there can’t be many shorter than this one, at two words: Five years. We then get to meet a couple who we know have a conflict between them but the story unfolds slowly and it’s almost half-way through before we find out the details – a laugh-out-loud moment for me. We are then lead along on the husband’s (our main character) journey, a pivotal point where he’s presented with a challenge from one of his neighbours.

Like Sean’s story Mercy, which I reviewed last Saturday, there isn’t much dialogue (which I’m usually a fan of) but the description is so finely tuned that it carried me along rather than bogged me down.

Kelly has chosen a very ordinary setting (a close-knit community), a season of (normally) joy, but given it a really quirky scenario.

The only pick I would have (and I had to pay attention to find it) was a tense slip in one of the sentences but unless you’re looking for it, it would likely pass you by.

At c.1,200 words it’s a very tight little story and I just loved the ending… the beginning and everything in between.

Kelley’s story is available via and and the latter’s synopsis reads: This Christmas is going to be different. It really will. Or so poor Clark promises his wife. He just never counted on Old Man Finnegan calling his bluff… The Best One Yet is a hilarious and quirky holiday short story about love, commitment, and keeping your hands off other people’s property.

Kelley’s Amazon author page says: Kelley Hunter came to live in New Hampshire as a disgruntled teenager. She got older, grew wiser, and can’t imagine ever leaving it now. Besides writing short stories and novels, she’s also a mom, wife, and lackey to three cats. Oh, and she likes cannoli too much. Way too much. But she’s good with that.

Cannoli’s not something we have in the UK (to my knowledge)… mmm, I’m going to have to investigate. 🙂

If you’d like to submit your story (50 to 2,500 words) for review take a look here.

Later we have author spotlight no.68 with poet, novelist, memoirist and children’s author Judy Light Ayyildiz then the blog interviews return as normal tomorrow with sci-fi / fantasy writer Agron Shehu – the two hundred and twelfth of my interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum at

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