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What Can Be  By  cover art

What Can Be

By: Mary Calmes
Narrated by: Robert Nieman
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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
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

What listeners say about What Can Be

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

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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?

Both!

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.

1 person found this helpful

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-shaky sigh- Just a Beautiful Story

Any additional comments?

"When love trumps passion, you knew you were with the right guy."

This tale of loss and found is exactly how I need and want my romances to be. I mean I sighed, I actually freakin' sighed with this feeling of 'everything is right in the world' once the last word was spoken and that short music theme that reminds you you've just listened to a Mary Calmes tales.

This story lovely, heartbreaking tale of Jake/Eli love loss and found had the exact amount of emotion, love, self loathing, understanding the true meaning of true love (my god, Eli's mom, I can't even imagine), and acceptance. Robert Nieman was perfection in his narration of this story for me. -sniff...sniff- I think I fell in love with his voice a little bit. 💖


1 person found this helpful

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Love This

This is one of my comfort listens. The narrator is good, the story is great, it just never gets old.

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Angsty

I’m surprised this was part of a Christmas anthology because it’s angsty and serious. But it did have a surprising and satisfying ending.

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Absolutely loved both the story and narrator.

Listened to it several times. Engrossing. Great characters and pacing. Eli stole my heart. He was so vulnerable he made me cry. What a wonderful great character.

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Very Short

What Can Be was very short story. I think Mary should more of the mean character so we get to knew them better. We get to knew about Eli and more about his relationship with there boyfriend. The book tell us that Elli reunite with his family. He tell them want be happens is 13 years he was missing for his family. His father want to know what happen to his Mom and him when she Dyes. They wonder why he never what home after she dyes. There were a lot of character that you really want to get to know much better. The Narrated did a really great job on the book. #runaway #Christmas #FeelGood #short #PastMeetsPresent #Families #LGBTQIA+…or any other point of view #tagsgiving and #sweepstakes

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Wow, great story

Eli leaves with his mother for a summer vacation and disappears for 13 years. The story evolves and you are sucked in for the ride. Great story, great characters and Robert Nieman does a wonderful job of the narration.

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dramatic and emotionally draining story

Any additional comments?

What I don't like, the way Eli refuses to talk about his past is a tad too long after several chapters. Plus, I have to admit that the story is a bit melodramatic.
Not my favorite from Mary Calmes . Too much randomness and everything was too convenient.

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Not her best but I enjoyed it

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This is a fun quick listen to book when you just need to close your eyes and relax. Too short to really get too involved with.

Any additional comments?

If you haven't read/ listen to this authors books... keep buying. While this story is short and sort of fluffy this is one of the most talented MM authors out there. She had several series that are on my must buy/ listen to list. I actually own most everything in book kindle and audible format.

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  • Kirsty
  • 03-14-20

a perfect couple of hours

A great listen... an enjoyable escape from reality for Precious few hours. left me smiling at the end.