Tinsel – The Girls Who Invented Christmas
320pp., hbk., RRP $A17.99
Homeless because her parents died before her memories were made and having vowed to never spend another night in an orphanage of 19th century England, Blanche Claus hates Christmas. From her shelter under the bridge she called home, she’d spend the day loudly counting down the seconds until it was over – or she fell asleep in the snow.
This Christmas Day started out as many before it but it was disturbed by the appearance of an old woman with a fancy bauble dangling rom her finger. Giving the bauble to Blanche who protests she doesn’t have a tree to hang it on, the old woman assures her she doesn’t need a tree for this one and as mysteriously as she came, she disappears. Looking at the bauble Blanche sees a snowy landscape decorated with tiny houses and technicolor icicles but it is the giant dancing Christmas tree that catches her eye. This is the first gift she has ever been given and it changes her attitude and her life forever leading her to first Rudy, an old horse ready for the knackery and then a friendship (also a first) with Rinki.
You get an inkling of where the story is going from the tagline of the title, the byline of the blurb – “”What if somewhere along the way we’ve all got the Santa story a bit wrong…”” and Blanche’s declaration that if she could have or do anything in the world it would be to give every child a gift on Christmas morning so they would also know the joy she felt when that old woman offered her the bauble.
This is a charming story that draws you in until suddenly an afternoon is gone and you’ve done nothing but be captivated by the magic of the Christmas of your childhood days. It would make the perfect Christmas Countdown read-aloud or evening read-together as we approach this special time together, and this is another that is going to Miss 9 and Miss 14 who, even at their age, still love that special family time sharing a story.