Keeping Christmas is a collection of six short novellas each loosely written around the theme of castles at Christmas time.
In some ways short stories and novellas are the most difficult genre to write, the author having to establish characters, plot and background rapidly, whilst still having to get into the narrative as quickly as possible. Every word is precious and has to work hard. This book shows off the art form very well.
It is an eclectic mix from different eras, all relating to Christmas in some way. For example The Girl from Dalarna, by Olivia Talbott is a gritty historical story, The Lights of Castlebourne by Chautona Having and Cathe Swanson is a modern day romance and The Weary World Rejoices by Naomi Craig is a Biblical fiction story. Each is full of interesting characters and absorbing plot lines.
A collection like this is also a great way of discovering new authors, and there are some here that I will certainly seek out further to read their other works.
I found The Weary World Rejoices especially interesting, having written Biblical fiction myself, and having read one of Naomi Craig’s books quite recently. If you are unsure about Biblical fiction as a genre, then this is a good route in to trying it out.
It offers some fascinating and very well researched insights into the Old Testament prophecies that point towards Jesus the Messiah, presenting them as they may have been considered at the time of Jesus’ birth.
The story is wrapped up in the suspicion, fear and political turmoil in the court of King Herod and reminds us of the great sacrifices made by many people through the ages, to bring the good news of Jesus to the world. But it also reminded me of how, when we know the truth of Jesus, our lives are transformed and realigned, and we are redeemed.
If you enjoy stories, then this is a way of getting a healthy dose of lovely Christmas tales all in one place. Stories about people with faith, who find God’s guiding hand on their lives at Christmas time.
Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.