Last night, to mark the excitement of ‘six weeks until Christmas!’, I decided to read four short Christmas stories on my Kindle, all of which I downloaded for free from Quercus’ online shop. I abandoned one of them due to a distinct lack of interest, but of the three I read, two were just okay, and one stood out to me as a great little tale, which had been carefully plotted. Without further ado, I shall let you know of the first Christmas books I have read in 2013.
The Snow Globe by Kristin Harmel ****
I had never heard of Kristin Harmel before, but I rarely say no to a Christmas story. The Snow Globe takes place in Paris during the Second World War, and opens in quite a lovely way: ‘Darkness was falling quickly, too quickly, as the boy stood in the Jardin du Luxembourg beneath his favourite statue, awash in a flurry of snowflakes.’
In her story, Harmel tells of a young boy who meets a girl named Rose during the Nazi curfew: ‘In an instant, reality crashed back in, and the boy remembered where they were and what they were. Jews in Paris. At twilight.’ The snow globe of the story’s title was given to the boy by his grandfather before he passed away, and is subsequently passed to Rose as a reminder of the boy’s love for her. Their story begins on Christmas Eve, and is both sad and poignant. I really enjoyed Harmel’s writing, particularly her descriptions, and will certainly be reading more of her work in future.
In a New York Minute by Eleanor Moran *
This is the story which I abandoned. I was expecting great things after so enjoying The Snow Globe, but was more than disappointed with this. It is typical chick lit really, which I am not at all a fan of. It was not a badly written story, but it lacked substance. The characters were rather vapid and the storyline utterly predictable.
The Resolution by Linda Green **
This is a New Year story rather than a Christmas story, and involves three middle-aged friends all setting the resolution of seeing one another more away from the demands of their lives as mothers. I found that there were a few too many characters introduced in one go in The Resolution, and again, it was a little too chick lit for my liking.
The Christmas Bake Off by Abby Clements **
This seemed rather a lot like ‘Calendar Girls’ from the outset, beginning as it does with a baking competition held in a Yorkshire Women’s Institute. There is sabotage at their yearly Christmas competition. Even for a short story, the plot here felt a little drawn out. The recipes were a nice touch, however.
Have you begun to read Christmas books yet? Which are you planning to start with?