Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Posted by JaneGS
I just finished two pretty fun Christmas books--both are short story collections and they couldn't have been more different.
First up, Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories, by L. M. Montgomery. I'm an Anne of Green Gables fan from childhood and by far the best stories in this collection were the two extracted from the series.
The first is from AoGG, when Matthew gives Anne a dress with puffed sleeves--it's the first pretty dress that Anne has ever gotten, and she is thrilled, thankful, and blown away by Matthew's love for her.
The other Anne story was from Windy Poplars, when Katherine Brook comes to Green Gables with Anne over the Christmas holiday. I always loved that part of the story and it was a joy to reread.
The rest of the stories in the collection were ones that the editor, Rea Wilmshurst, culled from various magazines, circa 1905. They are fairly conventional stories in which either one of the following happens:
1) A poor family is struggling to have a Christmas for their children and a rich benefactor showers Christmas goodies on them at the last minute.
2) A fractured family or arguing friends are reunited due to a mistake of some sort that makes them celebrate Christmas together and mend broken fences.
My favorite was one in which a country woman feeds a train car full of various people out of her voluminous hamper when the train is stranded over night on Christmas Eve due to a snowstorm. The spirit of giving and friendship shines through this one, without it being overly saccharine.
This was a quick book to read, a bit too sweet for my taste, but pure heaven to spend some quality time with Anne again.
The second collection of stories was The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories, a set of four stories, by P.D. James. This is my first time reading James and I can finally appreciate her for the fabulous mystery writer she was. All four were all well-crafted, tight, and interesting. The first was a classic country house murder, the second an unreliable narrator, and the third and fourth featured Adam Dalgleish.
The setting was Christmas, but that was really the only thing Christmasy about these stories--no change of heart, no uplifting sentiments, just murder most foul...but very entertaining!
I'm keeping track of my Christmas reading, year to year, here.