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Bespoke: a Tiny Christmas Tale (Espoir Archives #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  56 reviews
A Secret. A Bicycle. A Promise…

While the elusive Secret Symphony of Giovanni St. John captivated the world’s fascination, it left his daughter closed away in the Silent House – she, the one who holds the fullness of truth about the ninth symphony. Now Aria St. John is determined to not only break free of the loss that has defined her, but to honor her father through one fi
Kindle Edition, 75 pages
Published 2015 by Lanternwood Press (first published November 15th 2014)
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Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing! This is definitely a whimsical tale where bits and pieces of the past are slowly revealed as the current story plays out. Bespoke is also a fairly short tale, just right for a quick evening read during the cold winter months. I enjoyed this charming story and look forward to reading other works by this author.
Amber Stokes
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amber-s-kindle
All the rumors you might have heard are true...this is a lovely little tale! Only a few characters are featured, and yet the author weaves their lives into a braid of tender emotion, loss, and hope. The setting is unique and described beautifully, definitely perfect for Christmas Eve dreams. And I love the inspiration behind it all: the desire to spread the deepest love through bicycles. It has my own wheels spinning, making me want to touch lives in unique ways with what I have right now.
Famed composer Giovanni St. John’s Secret Symphony captivated the world. His daughter Aria St. John knows the truth about the secret ninth symphony, as well as the loss that accompanies it. Determined to break free from the tragic loss she suffered years ago, Aria concocts a gift that will bring her healing and honor her father in the final days of his life. On the small Isle of Espior, only one person can help her – the village blacksmith and her once-treasure childhood friend. Can they come to ...more
“Promises are for keeping, you know.”

This is one of the best Christmas novellas I've read!! I've been disappointed by several I've read in the past couple years-they move too fast and are just downright cheesy. But this one was unique, fascinating, and believable despite its short length.

James and Aria are such lovely characters. Everything with the symphony, the bicycle, and a promise that must be kept from years gone by really made my day. It is completely clean-one kiss at the end-and brings
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bespoke by Amanda Dykes
Giovanni St. John: symphony writer
Aria: his daughter
James Shaw: Village blacksmith
Location: Isle of Espoir, halfway between England and France

Bespoke means anything commissioned to a particular specification. It is also the name of the metalworks forge owned by James Shaw; no longer a foundry where a terrible accident occurred fifteen years before.

With Aria St. John's return to their small island James has to face that nightmare once again. But as Silent Night s
Jocelyn Green
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellas
This novelette worked its way into my heart almost as soon as I began reading it. Brief enough to read in a few stolen moments during the busy Christmas season, the story has a depth and richness to it that left me surprisingly fulfilled and satisfied by "the end." The author writes with lyrical pen and heartfelt care for her characters and their tale. I found Bespoke to be a musical story rich with redemption. Amanda Dykes is an author to watch.
Lori Benton
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little story with a big heart, Bespoke captured me with its polished, intelligent prose and characters both winsome and layered, and held me in its spell with a poignant yearning—to uncover the painful secrets of the characters’ past and see the unfolding of a future shining with the promise of joy. Amanda Dykes is a fresh voice in fiction and Bespoke, A Tiny Christmas Tale sings with a timeless song of rebirth.
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
This is such a sweet novella perfect for holiday reading. I quickly fell in love with the characters and was immersed in the story. Highly recommend!
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Sweet and unique Christmas novella.

I eagerly await a full length novel by this author. :-)
Regina Jennings
Aria St. John was a child prodigy until an accident ended her career. Her father, a world-renowned conductor, has never recovered from her loss and struggles with his own place in the world… a world that places unbelievable demands on him.

When Aria and her father return to the Isle of Espoir, James Shaw is there to meet her. The local blacksmith and her childhood friend, James may possess the skills to bring Aria's song of healing to a triumphant finale.

Lyrically written, this little story has
Rachel McMillan
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As soon as I read this, I knew that it would become a Christmas tradition! Marrying the eerie beauty of classical composition with a quaint little town --just pitch-perfect ---and filled with snow, holly and hope, Dykes proves her craft with every poetical line.

Part love story, with fable-like essence and all faith and charity, "Bespoke" is that rare, cherished glimmery find that tastes like embers popping in a hearth and like the winnowed music of a crisp winter's night.


Love this autho
Dana Michael
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Precious Christmas Story

I think this is the first story that I have read from this author and I was extremely impressed. It's a short story but it was so precious. It was about a daughter who had an accident as a little girl and enlisted the help of her friend to make something special for her ailing father for Christmas. I enjoyed it so much a d definitely recommend it.
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This tiny story about music is quite possibly the quietest books I've ever read. I leaned in to hear every single word. Beautifully written.
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a treasure of a Christmas tale, Bespoke wheeled its way into my heart and nestled there to stay. James and Aria quickly became real to me--their heartaches, their hopes, the promise their story holds for healing and redemption of past wounds...not to go back to being the same as before, but to be remade into something new and even more beautiful from the ashes of the past. Such a picture of the way God redeems us and our world! Bespoke is a lyrical, tenderly moving novella I hope to come b ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-reading
What a delightful surprise to find a Christian writer who is also a wordsmith. I was completely drawn into the story. But a randomly inserted Bible verse shows that Dykes is falling into the error of most CF authors (of putting crosses on shoes as opposed to making excellent shoes). I am surprised that I am one of the only reviewers who found the whole bicycle/music theme difficult to understand or appreciate. It seemed very contrived.

This story had tons of potential and I wish Ms. Dykes much s
J. Boo
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's a couple things to like about this scrupulously clean, short romantic tale, but I foundered on significant plot points -- the bicycle is completely out of left field, and I wasn't able to suspend disbelief through some of the music-related sections (I played in symphony orchestras up through college, and I don't think this is true of the author.)
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What does a world renowned composer, a small village blacksmith and a well- kept- secret have in common? A tragic accident; a ninth symphony. This very small, but very powerful story will resonant deep within the recesses of your heart, leading you to discover that there are many ways to make beautiful music!

"Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright" . . . . all is well.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale is a wonderful short story. It is only 72 pages but full of sweetness with true to life characters. I hope to read more by this author and would love to read a full length novel by her one day.
5+ stars
Gena DeBardelaben
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
eARC: Netgalley

A beautiful tale made even more beautiful by the author's message at the end.
Dana Tipken
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars says it all!
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas, novellas
What a sweet, sweet story :)!
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Wonderful, heartwarming story. Forgiveness, redemption, glorious music. Real people, lovely story. Will be following this author. Recommend to all! Awesome!
Nadine Keels
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
What could she say to that? That being ripped away from her best friend, from this island, had unraveled her? That she'd wanted to return a thousand times?... It's not your fault, James.

Aria knows the secret of the elusive Secret Symphony of her father, a renowned composer. Now that he's reaching the end of his life, Aria wants to give him one final gift. But it will take enlisting the help of the blacksmith and childhood friend she lost, James, in Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale by author Amanda
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming, well written tale of a young lady who yearned to play instruments again and the young man who made her dream possible in a most unusual way.
Aria St. John, the unknown musical prodigy and daughter of the great composer of Giovanni St. John has shown back up to her childhood home with her famous father after 15 years away. When she left, she’d been a curious 9 year old girl who’s best friend was 10 year old blacksmith James Shaw. She left after an accident led to her not being able to p
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very special short story...

This was a short novella that only took about an hour to read. Novellas can be difficult for me to get into because they often seem incomplete, it takes time to build a world, a plot, and fully formed characters that interest the reader. This story was able to do all that and was beautifully written as well. While reading, I could see the author's love of music shine through as she used it as a form of communication between her characters and to the readers. It was v
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this counts as a Christian romance, but I'm not entirely sure as God and religion aren't really mentioned.

It's actually quite a sweet little story about facing up to the past, acknowledging what happened, and still living. The characters were good, the story made sense, and if the plot was a little predictable, there was a charm to it. I enjoyed the idea of instruments needing to be used/played, no matter the way.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very short novella, A Victorian Christmas Tale. The story was beautifully written and captured you right away. Sometimes after reading a novella I feel like something was left out. Often they are used to introduce you to a more complete novel. This is not the case in "Bespoke". I later learned the bicycle story was used to raise money to purchase bicycles for missionaries in Asia. What a wonderful way for Amanda Dykes to use her talent.
Lynda Knapp
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Good read!

This author was very detailed with the characters as well as with the descriptions. I did enjoy parts of the story, but as a whole, I personally did not really like the book.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an utterly charming tale that involves loss, redemption and restoration, followed by the possibility of a childhood friendship becoming an adult love. Do read this at Christmas time - it is lovely !
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, christmas, kindle, 2018
A song silenced, and renewed.

It is said, love never dies, I think the same is true for music. I think it can never be truly silenced. Composed with such lyrical prose, "Bespoke" tells just such a story. I hope to see more of this author's work in the near future.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 2 2 Sep 04, 2015 10:43AM  
  • Leveraging Lincoln (The Liberator Series #1)
  • The Captive Imposter (The Everstone Chronicles, #3)
  • One December Night
  • Like There's No Tomorrow
  • A Question of Destiny
  • An October Bride (A Year of Weddings, #11)
  • Charity's Cross (Charles Towne Belles, #4)
  • Justified (Mended Hearts, #2)
  • A Bride at Last (Unexpected Brides, #3)
  • The Quilt
  • The Vow (An Uncertain Choice, #0.5)
  • Homeward
  • The Fragment
  • On Shifting Sand
  • Sunken Treasure (Stepping Stones Island #3)
  • Dandelions on the Wind (Quilted Hearts, #1)
  • Down and Dead in Dixie
  • The Proposal (Porter Family #3.5)