Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas novels

As if the constant barrage of holiday shopping ads, Christmas carols, TV specials, Santa photo ops and twinkling light displays weren't enough, we are adding to the Christmas cacophony by putting out a slew of new holiday novels:
Matchless: an illumination of Hans Christian Andersen's classic 'the Little Match Girl' is Gregory Maguire's latest take on a traditional fairy tale. I've always found this to be the most depressing of the fairy tales, but Maguire introduces a new thread into the story and changes it from a tale of sorrow into one of continuity. Maguire's pen-and-ink illustrations are lovely, and he has a beautiful dedication at the beginning of the book. (For another short Christmas story sure to make you cry, try Frank McCourt's Angela and the Baby Jesus).
The Gift, by Cecelia Ahern, is a Christmas redemption story in which a career-driven executive is made to see the treasure he already has - his family - by a homeless man (guardian angel?).
Merry, Merry Ghost is a mystery by Carolyn Hart. A wealthy woman is murdered before she can alter her will in favor of a newly discovered grandson, and it's up to ghostly Bailey Ruth Raeburn (she really is a ghost, I'm not being metaphorical) to discover the identity of the killer.
Winter of secrets, by Vicki Delany, is the third Constable Molly Smith novel. Set at a British Columbia ski resort (I like to think Smithers, but it's probably more like Whistler), this story involves "sexual predators, recreational drugs, privilege and high-living". Ho, ho, ho.
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page is a new entry in her popular Faith Fairchild mystery series. (I'm not sure why the holiday season is so inspiring to mystery writers...are we all more prone to murderous rages at Christmas?)
Of course, we also have plenty of Christmas-time romance, if you prefer books that are less likely to make you cry or lock your doors. So take a break from shopping, baking and wrapping and settle down with a good holiday read and a hot cup of cocoa.

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