This unusual array of short stories, published by Alfie Dog Fiction, is brought together under the topical theme of Christmas. I say unusual, because some of the subject matter is not necessarily what you might expect to find in a tale about the festive season. Teenage terminal illness, sexual abuse, alcoholism and adoption are but a few of the topics touched upon in this collection. However, despite the dour issues, the reader is always left with a feeling of hope by the story’s end.
I found one or two of the pieces rambled and lacked a satisfying conclusion, making me question whether the time spent reading them had been wasted. Others left me with an inner glow, particularly Granddad’s Snowman, by Patsy Collins, with memories of a granddad now passed — something that will, no doubt, resonate with many of us at this poignant time of year.
Would I recommend it? If you’re looking for a light and traditional story to pass a few minutes over a coffee, this might not necessarily be for you. If, on the other hand, you’re seeking something to stretch your imagination and challenge your perceptions this Christmas, this could be the very thing you’ve been looking for.