I’m late with this review, I know! I got this book as a Christmas present myself, so it was impossible for me to review it before Christmas. This is a short story collection/cookbook. There are 12 Christmas-themed stories and 12 Christmasy recipes. Some of the stories are a little dark or sad, and most have a touch of magical realism (of course they do– Christmas is the most magical time of the year). The recipes aren’t in exact measurements, and they are written so casually and conversationally. This collection just feels so genuine.
I find short story collections harder to review and rate than novels. Not every story can be a winner. There is almost always a mixture of strong and weak narratives. I usually give the collection a rating based on an average of how I would rate each individual story. Thus, it is rare for me to rate a collection 5/5 stars, even if it is written by one of my favorite authors. I also factor in how much I can remember about each story. Sometimes stories blend together after I finish the collection (especially if I read the stories one after the other with no downtime between them). If I can recall specific plots and characters weeks after I finish, I call the collection a success. With all that in mind, this collection sits at a solid 4/5 stars.
I know I haven’t said much about the stories themselves, but they are well-written and often heartwarming. There were a couple that were a bit similar, but most of them offer a refreshing take on often overused Christmas-y themes. There is also a lengthy introduction on the history of Christmas that is worth the time it takes to read it. Oh, and the book itself is absolutely stunning to look at on your shelf. So, if you have bookish gift cards or are still in the Christmas spirit, you might want to pick this one up!