Do you know, I thought there was something missing from my Christmas reading this year – and here it is! Christmas isn’t really Christmas without a “short” from one of my favourites, Jane Lovering: Christmas at the Little Village School was published yesterday on all e-book platforms, and might be the best 99p you’ll spend this side of the big day. My thanks to Choc Lit for the timely prod, and for sending me my e-copy for review. Just take a look at this…
A teacher’s life is never easy … especially at Christmas!
Working at a tiny village school in rural Yorkshire has its own unique set of challenges – but when teachers Lydia Knight and Jake Immingham are tasked with getting the children to put on a Christmas play for the local elderly people’s home, they know they’re in for a tricky term!
But in between choreographing sugar plum dance routines, reindeer costume malfunctions and trying to contain Rory Scott’s wannabe rap star aspirations, Lydia realises that, even as a teacher, she isn’t past being taught a couple of things – and one of those things is a much-needed lesson in Christmas spirit.
Ah, this was just perfect! I’ll admit that when I saw “village school” I did wobble a little – I’m often not the greatest fan of children in books – but this was a story that totally won my heart. The characters, as always, are beautifully drawn. You’ll feel for Lydia, with her spikiness in the company of others, but the reasons why she’s like that aren’t clear until later in the story – and it’s so well handled. Jake has just the right degree of “phoar!” (worked for me, anyway…) – but then there’s Gareth too, with his ready smile and blonde floppy hair. And the subsidiary characters – yes, even the children (maybe especially the children…) – were just superb.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned before how well Jane Lovering describes her settings – there are a few passages in this book that are really beautifully crafted, gorgeous glimpses of the unique Yorkshire landscape. But I have – most definitely – mentioned her perfectly judged humour, brought wonderfully to the fore as the Christmas play takes shape (I particularly loved the reindeer antlers!). I really liked the rapidly multiplying plaster of paris Christmas table decorations too – more central to the story than you might ever guess. Perhaps just a little over an hour’s reading, but one of the most enjoyable hours I’ve had this Christmas – a thoroughly lovely read.
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