Book Review – Tales To Take You To Christmas by Sarah Tipper

First published, 2015

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

This is a collection of twenty-four stories, designed to take the reader from the 1st December through to Christmas Eve which is, I think you’ll agree, quite a charming idea. One short story a day, rather than one mighty tome to find room for when everything else needs doing in the run-up to Christmas.

There are stories within this collection which are quite wonderful. Highlights for me were:
The Pastry Plaster Plan For Patiently Pleasing Previously Perturbed People
Fat – Her Christmas
Monologue
Bring Me Sunshine
If I Had A Magic Wand In December

Some of the chapters aren’t so much stories as glimpses into a life. It took me a little while to get used to the idea that, in some instances, the story would just stop. I’d get to know the character, I might like them rather a lot, and then – next chapter.

However, where the book really falls down for me is in its punctuation.
With apologies to the author: I am not some nitpicky nightmare of a reader who insists on, or despises, the Oxford comma and all its followers. I’m not bothered about that either way. My problem is with dialogue that goes something like this…

“The tree looks nice Mum”. She said.
from Bring Me Sunshine

And it came up wherever there was dialogue. Open speech marks – dialogue – close speech marks – full stop – capital letter She said.

I felt that this error was completely maddening and rather spoiled the thing for me. Another round of edits would have corrected it, and then it would have simply been my bah-humbug nature that would have left me feeling drained and annoyed.

I do think it’s important to end on a positive note: the idea of Prince Philip appearing at the end of the Queen’s Christmas message, wearing a party hat, (from If I Had A Magic Wand In December) made me genuinely happy.