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A Christmas Grace
Christmas Novella Series

by Anne Perry

      Here is the sixth of Anne Perry’s annual novellas with a Christmas theme, centering around one of the less major characters and giving us a chance to see their side of things.  This time the central character is a fairly major one, Emily Radley, the wealthy sister of Charlotte Pitt.  She is contemplating a family Christmas with the addition of balls and parties, but then a letter arrives summoning her to the deathbed of her aunt Susannah.  It has been many years since she saw this relation, estranged from her family after marrying a Catholic Irishman who has recently died.  Susannah lives in a remote village on the coast, and soon after Emily’s arrival a mighty storm blows up.  This sets the villagers a-muttering, saying that it is too much like another storm a few years ago which brought a stranger to the village.  Then another stranger is washed up on the beach...

Anne Perry is adept at the novella form, managing to pack a lot of meaning into comparatively few words.  This story almost has the feeling of a folk tale, set in a place far from bustling London and concerning elemental events repeating themselves to fell purpose.  It is ideally suited to reading on a dark winter’s night, a story of storms, murders, doom and retribution.  To say more about the plot would spoil it, but it does seem to be setting the scene for a new plot strand.  Highly recommended for atmosphere and a rare ability to tell a tale in a few words.

The Book

December 2008
0755334329 / 9780755334322
Historical Crime [1895 Connemara, Ireland]
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NOTE: Holiday read: Christmas

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2009
© 2009