27 December 2009

CHRISTMAS BOOK REVIEW: The Light of Christmas

edited by Frances Brentano

Last year I purchased several older Christmas story collections (The Fireside Book of Christmas Stories, Uncle Toby's Christmas Book, etc.) looking for uncommon Christmas stories, ones I had not read over and over in multiple anthologies. I did find many, especially in Jack Newcombe's New Christmas Treasury, but I was still dissatisfied.

This year this book turned up at the library and darned if it wasn't just what I was looking for! It has six sections, the first stories centered around Christ's birth from various POVs—including a play written by Dorothy L. Sayers of Lord Peter Wimsey fame!—and then around the influence of the Biblical tale. The third section has stories about children at Christmas, the fourth about families, the fifth and sixth filled with fictional Christmas stories and Christmas memories. Several of them were familiar, like Robert Tristam Coffin's "Christmas in Maine," but all were joys, including the Biblical tales "The Sequel to Bethlehem," "Anniversary" (about a hunchbacked child), "Journey to Christmas," the Christmas chapter of Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, "Christmas on the Prairie" from Bess Streeter Aldrich's classic A Lantern in Her Hand, the Moss Hart Christmas anecdote later used in PBS' Simple Gifts, and more. It was an absolutely delightful read!

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