The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories

Asa Don Dickinson & Ada M. Skinner

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Retro Reads Group on Goodreads read a selection of stories from this book.

We started with A Christmas Matinee by M.A.L. Lane.
So touching and with lots of good messages – not the least was that it feels good to do the right thing. I had tears in my eyes at the end! 5★

The Queerest Christmas by Grace Margaret Gallagher
I had tears in my eyes again. What was so lovely was that Betty didn’t realise she had done anything special. Heartwarming 4.5★

The Telltale Tile by Olive Thorne Miller.
I found the writing a little awkward in this story, but it was still a very sweet tale. 3.5★

Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe by Elizabeth Harrison More tears! But I liked that the outcome for Gretchen was realistic. & Gretchen was so sweet. 5★

The Philanthropist’s Christmas by James Weber Linn
I liked that the resolution had a little bit of the unexpected. (view spoiler) 4★

The Chimes I thought The Chimes was beautiful. Once again I cried. 4.5★

‘Tis the Season

by China Miéville

Rating: 4 out of 5.

 I was looking for a more modern Christmas story and knew I had this one on one of my to-read lists.

I liked it! I don’t read much dystopian fiction, so to me it was a fresh & funny take on the commercialisation of Christmas and a real contrast to the sweet, old fashioned values of Christmas Day in the Morning which I have also just read.

It also reminded me of some recent protests in my own country where sometimes I had trouble recognising ‘my’ Aotearoa.

Christmas Day in the Morning

by Pearl S. Buck

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This story is very short.

I read it here;

https://www.altogetherchristmas.com/stories/ChristmasDayInTheMorning.html

This site has some other Christmas goodies as well.

This story about a teen from a poor family wanting to show his father how much he loved him at Christmas time. It shows beautiful sentiments without being cloying.

My first read of anything by Pearl S. Buck and I really enjoyed it.

A RomaJuliette Christmas Special

by Chloe Gong

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I have a few Christmas quickies!

The author does suggest on her website reading her debut novel These Violent Delights first, but I followed readers suggestions to reread Jane Eyre before I read Wide Sargasso Sea

 and I didn’t find it helped much with that chaotic book. &, when possible, I like to read things in chronological order.

I found this short prequel oddly flat & it didn’t make me want to know more about either character. The title made me think I would get a lot more Christmas than I did.

Gentian Hill

by Elizabeth Goudge

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I started this book I was instantly enchanted – forty pages flew by just like that!

Set in the time of the Napoleonic Wars, this book has another of Goudge’s magical children. Stella & her dead mother are washed ashore and Stella is adopted by good farming folk. When Anthony/Zachary comes into her life, he proves to be the other half of her, but they are too young to make any formal commitment to each other. I’m not totally convinced with the plot developments that Goudge uses to work around this, (and ascribing favourable physical characteristics to being of noble birth!) but I did quite definitely enjoy the journey and spending the time with nice people.

An added bonus was the Christmas content – I loved reading about an English traditional Christmas. What a lucky chance that I was reading at this time of year!

On Christmas Day in the Evening

On Christmas Day in the Evening

On Christmas Day in the Evening by Grace S. Richmond

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3.5★

I’ve hit my target for the Goodreads Challenge – This is read Number 90, so go me!

We are back with the wholesome and loving Fernald family that features in On Christmas Day in the Morning. While I preferred the first book (which was more about honouring your family, this is more about the importance of a community) this is still a lovely tale, with the sort of sentimental message I am in the mood for at Christmas time.

Best wishes for 2020 everyone! Love each other, be kind to one another.

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Killer Dolphin aka Death at the Dolphin

Killer Dolphin (Roderick Alleyn, #24)

Killer Dolphin by Ngaio Marsh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I can see it’s flaws, but I can’t help it – I just love this book

This is all the more surprising as I am not a big Marsh fan. I think this one was the first Marsh I read and maybe that explains my love for it.

The Dolphin Theatre is described with such love and detail. Ms Marsh is totally at home with her theatrical characters and she also makes them believable as people from the sixties – my favourite decade! I don’t think the murder was as important to Marsh in this mystery, as the fun she was having with the setting.

Alleyn and Fox are witty together without Marsh making Alleyn too arch – Marsh is prone to do that. No Troy is a bonus. Troy and Alleyn’s relationship has never seemed believable or comfortable to me.

Lovely, escapist fare!

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A Christmas Book

A Christmas Book

A Christmas Book by Elizabeth Goudge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas time is just the best time to read Elizabeth Goudge, as you are entering a world of love, goodness, happiness and hope.

I was lucky enough to purchase this book very cheaply at a local op (charity) shop. I believe it is normally very hard to find. This is a shame, as it is mostly a collection of Christmas themed extracts, with a couple of short stories thrown in. This is a good way to sample Goudge’s work to see if her style is for you.

Rereading the extract from The Dean’s Watch was a chance to reread a section of one of my favourite reads since I have been a Goodreads member.

But all the reads were 5★ for me, with the exception of the final one Christmas With the Angels Well written as always but too biblical for me.

My favourite read was one of the two short stories, Christmas in the Village. So touching and even a little bit of reality there.

This book definitely a keeper for me – same as most of Goudge’s are!

Wishing everyone on Goodreads a Wonderful holiday season and a Glorious Reading Year in 2020!

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A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Sweet, tender and achingly sad, this beautiful childhood memory of Truman Capote gathering ingredients for and making fruitcake for Christmas with his childlike and much older cousin had me in tears by the end.

Cruelly separated by life (aka his mother) I wish these two lovely souls had been able to reunite – just once- before the real Sook’s death.

I’m glad Truman carried this memory in his heart.

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