Close Your Eyes

A Fairy Tale

Fiction - New Adult
258 Pages
Reviewed on 04/18/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Chris Tomasini is a graduate of the University of Toronto. He spent two summers in England in the mid 1990s, and taught English as a Second Language in Europe and Asia in the late 1990s. Chris studied creative writing through Humber College's Correspondence Program in Creative Writing, and via the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.

Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale, sprung out of a long-time fascination with medieval and renaissance history, and from the year Chris spent working in Poland.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini is indeed what the author promises; a fairy tale but one aimed very much at adults. The author transports us to the mythical country of Gora, somewhere in central Europe in the early part of the fifteenth century. Gora, unlike most of Europe, was still strictly heathen and not under the influence of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, which wielded such power everywhere else in Europe. The King of Gora was determined to build a great country that he could pass on to his beloved children, the Prince and Princess. To ensure their safety, entertainment, and enjoyment, he had gathered a collection of unusual “friends” and minders for the young pair; the storyteller, Tycho, the court jester and dwarf, Samuel, and the cook Agnieszka. Whilst Samuel and to a lesser extent Tycho were comfortable and happy to have finally found a home and acceptance in the court of Gora, Agnes, the cook had been recruited from her village just days after marrying the love of her life. She was promised much wealth for a year’s service but was determined to return to her village at the end of that year to reclaim her life, her love, and start a family. When it becomes obvious that the King had absolutely no intention of allowing his children’s favorite cook and friend to leave, a plan must be hatched.

Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale is a sweet, gentle story of exotic times and a period when the monarchy was absolute and ordinary people had virtually no say in their lives and actions. Author Chris Tomasini has devised a cast of fascinatingly diverse and wonderful characters that all seek to win readers’ hearts. Tycho, the poor orphan boy, who somehow has the gift of storytelling but doesn’t understand what his mission in life is and who doubts he will ever understand love, is a standout amongst his friends. He substitutes the lack of love in his early life with an endless succession of women in his bed, who throw themselves willingly at the young man. Samuel also has some wonderful character development. As a dwarf, he doubts he will ever feel the love and touch of a woman, and yet he is happy with his role in Gora’s court, where he is at least respected and loved as both the Court Jester and the close friend and confidant of the Prince and Princess. Agnes, with her strong love for her husband and her determination to fulfill their planned life together by returning to him, gives a differing perspective that makes them the perfect trio to be such close and loving friends. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the letters of Bishop Tonnelli to Pope Martin V. The dismantling of the fallacy of the supremacy of the Catholic faith and their acolytes was reminiscent of the complaints of Martin Luther himself and served to ground this fairy tale in historical truth, which I appreciated. Ultimately this is a sweet story of love, friendship, brotherhood, and the beauty of diversity, which I can highly recommend.

Michaela Gordoni

Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini is a smoothly written work. Set in the 15th century, it is about a dwarf who is an entertainer for the king’s children. Samuel is a thoughtful, kind, and wise soul. Through him, the tales of characters within the castle are told, weaving in and out of varying perspectives, years, and events. Among the people in the castle is his dear young friend Tycho, a (perhaps supernaturally) gifted storyteller, and Ahab, the old court astronomer. Longing for love, Samuel finds himself the observer of his friends’ desires. He sees how love can build and destroy, how it can mend, and how it can break. This is a fairy tale unlike those you have read before.

I thought that this work by Chris Tomasini was incredibly interesting and refreshing. It is not a long read and I wish it had not ended so soon. It is told in an unusual style and is certainly creative. I have never read anything similar previously. It is very well written and has the potential to be made into a TV show, film, or even a musical. It is both happy and sad and leaves some of the characters’ fates to the reader's imagination. Close Your Eyes is an unforgettable story, and I will certainly remember to read other books by this author in the future. It will appeal to those interested in adult fairy tales, but also might attract readers interested in historical fiction.

Pikasho Deka

Close Your Eyes is a historical/medieval romance novel by Chris Tomasini. Set in the early half of the 15th century, the book follows Samuel, a court jester serving under King Pawel of the last remaining autonomous kingdom in the west, Gora. It opens with Samuel narrating the escape of Tycho, a gifted storyteller, with Agnieszka, the cook. Samuel recalls the madness of King Pawel, who slowly loses his mind grieving over his beloved deceased wife, Kristina. Added to the mix are Pawel's children, Prince Krysztoff and Princess Alexandra, to whom Samuel and Tycho are beholden. While the ghosts of the past haunt the castle halls, Tycho's philandering escapades do little to fill the void of his soul. Will leaving the castle lead Tycho to his true destiny?

A surreal romantic odyssey that transports you to medieval-era Europe, to a time of fearsome kings, beautiful princesses, forbidden love, and politically motivated arranged marriages, Close Your Eyes is an exploration of love in a myriad of its forms. Filled with romance, courtroom drama, humor, and heartbreak, Chris Tomasini's ode to love is an enthralling read from start to finish. The delightful prose and quick-witted dialogue make the narrative breeze past without a single hitch. The characters are brimming with life, and their colorful personas make them pop out of the pages. Samuel, Tycho, Ahab, Agnieszka, and Alexandra are likable characters you can't help rooting for. I thoroughly enjoyed Close Your Eyes. If you enjoy historical romantic fiction, I highly recommend it.

Liz Konkel

Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini is an exploration of love told from the perspective of a jester. Set in the 1400s, this fairy tale follows Samuel as he watches events unfold that lead up to the moment when storyteller Tycho runs away with Agnieszka and learns that love is at the root of all their actions. As he depicts the story of his friend, Samuel shares the revelations he discovered in the castle such as ghosts that haunt the halls. One such ghost named Jeanne d'Arc was a constant presence whispering in Tycho's ears, pushing him to forgo everything he knew to return to the places where he once lived and discover the destiny that awaits him.

The literary style explores love and revelations during a time of religion and is set within a kingdom mostly unnoticed by the Pope, Christian kings, and the Holy Roman Empire. These historical details help to establish the story in a specific time period with a writing style that reflects the storytelling of that time. The story is narrated by Samuel who tells a tale about his friend Tycho through whom he learns to understand love and the heart. The reflective nature of the writing creates a hint of sadness and nostalgia. Chris Tomasini weaves a successful story within a story with Samuel's commentary and thoughts on Tycho's story, which is one he's writing. Its a complex structure that works well with the premise and pulls you into the tone of a fairy tale, the historical setting, and the attitudes of the characters. Tycho's stories are an important part of the plot and each one stands out as an extension of the character with a poignancy that Tomasini uses well within the literary style. The belief in love is at the heart of Tycho's story and taking a chance on love defines what Samuel learned through watching his friend's journey. Blending a historical setting, the beautiful tone of a fairy tale, and the poignant presence of the past, Close Your Eyes explores the belief in love through the narration of a jester watching from the outside as love unfolds.

Miche Arendse

Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini is a story told by Samuel, a dwarf born to a normal family in the early 1400s in Europe. Samuel recounts his own story as well as those of the people he has met and befriended throughout his life. He shares the tales of his friend Tycho and Agnieszka who, alongside himself and Ahab, all worked in the castle for the great King Pawel in the kingdom of Gora. Samuel retells the story of his friends and why they ultimately decided to flee from the castle and how he, a mere jester, came to tell these stories to begin with.

Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini is not at all what you expect it to be. From start to finish this book surprised me with how captivating it was. I found myself enjoying this book so much, especially in the way it is written. This book unfolds as a fairy tale told by Samuel and that seems to give it a certain charm. Although Samuel is only taught to read and write later in his life, his ability to share the tales of his friend gave an even more charming aspect to this story as a whole. The book is well written and the characters are interesting and so easy to empathize with that you become enchanted as you go through the various tales of each character. You truly wish to know more and see more of their lives and what they’ve been through. This book was really beautifully done and I would highly recommend it.