I didn't check out this story collection until after Christmas but reading it out of season did not lessen my enjoyment. Great writers from Charles Dickens to Richard Ford are represented in this collection. There were a couple of stories that I had read previously - A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote and The Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle - but they are well worth reading again. Humor and sadness are present in equal measure with examples being Reginald's Christmas Revel by Saki with Reginald up to his old tricks at Mrs. Babwold's Christmas Day party and Vanka by Anton Chekhov about an orphaned boy apprenticed to a cruel shoemaker in Moscow who writes to his grandfather begging him to take him away. My favorite story in the collection, other than A Christmas Memory, is Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope. In this story, a married woman convinces her sickly husband that they must return to England for the holidays so that they can meet her sister's fiance. En route, they stay at a Parisian hotel where the woman searches for mustard so that she can prepare a mustard plaster for her husband's throat. Unfortunately, she becomes confused by the hotel's many corridors and enters the wrong room with the mustard. You will have to read the story yourself to learn how it ends. If reading holiday stories out loud is a tradition in your family, this collection would make a great addition.
Jan 22, 2010