One of the best Christmas stories I’ve ever read is No Holly for Miss Quinn, by Miss Read. She wrote two series of novels about English village life, and three novels about life in a small English market town from the turn of the 20th century through the post-WWII period.
I love this book especially for a particular moment during Christmas dinner, when the young boy has a sudden realization about the nature of Father Christmas and in that realization passes from childhood into the world of grown-up secrets.
No Holly for Miss Quinn speaks especially for women who are happily single and enjoy their lives to the full. But it also speaks for the child on the verge of growing up; and for the person who has lonely Christmases; and the person who has too much family at Christmas.
Miss Read, whose real name was Dora Saint, wrote beautifully, especially in her descriptions of nature–the changes of seasons, the activities of birds and animals and the way children interact with the natural world. She also had great insight into the urge to simplify our lives, to leave some of the unnecessary impedimenta behind.
As far as I know, this book is still available in Penguin Books. It’s a quick, happy read.
I hope others will share their favourite Christmas books or stories in the comments box.
©2007, RK Silipo. All rights reserved.