Six Tales of Christmas by Jenny Twist is a collection of short stories, as the title suggests themed around Christmas. Uncle Albert’s Christmas explores the dilemma faced by many elderly people who can feel manipulated by their relatives, especially after their spouse has passed, when in reality all they want to do is be left alone with their memories, or pursue their own adventures. In, An Extraordinary Coincidence, Twist introduces us to a modern-day Joseph and Mary who are jokingly contemplating the wisdom of calling their soon to be born son; Jesus. Home for Christmas examines the plight of the elderly who are often forced into retirement homes against their will by relatives who just want them out of sight and out of mind, but, of course, assure them it is for their “own good”. Jamey and the Alien goes to the other end of the spectrum and looks at a “Christmas Miracle” through the eyes of a little boy whose father is terminally ill. Two more stories and a bonus ghost story, at the end, round out this lovely collection.
As with any collection or anthology, as a reader, we have our favourites, but I can honestly say, with perhaps the exception of An Extraordinary Coincidence, I found all of the stories, in their own way to be beautiful, moving and on message. Each story carried a strong homily about love and about family and Jenny Twist certainly got her points across in these Six Tales of Christmas. If I had to pick a couple of favourites, I would probably plump for Marion and Jamey and the Alien. The later story, with its “Christmas Miracle” was heart-warming and from a child’s perspective, very realistic. I will admit to not figuring out until right at the end that the “chewmer” eating Jamie’s father’s brain was of course a tumour. Marion was just beautiful. It was so easy to identify with the old man, who felt the loss of his beloved Marion more on occasions such as Christmas. It was just a sweet, wonderful, little tale. As I said, all these stories were fantastic and I can highly recommend this collection as a must read at Christmas (to put you in the right spirit) and any other time of the year that you need uplifting. Wonderful, Jenny Twist.