It’s such a pleasure today to be sharing my review of Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium: published on 2nd October, it’s available for kindle (just 99p – or free under Kindle Unlimited) and also in paperback. The e-copy I read was my own, purchased for my kindle from Amazon.
I’ll happily admit that I had this lovely book on pre-order from the moment I first heard about it. You might remember my review last year of Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings, the first anthology by these nine Northern romance authors (many of whom I’ve read and enjoyed before) who call themselves Authors on the Edge – I absolutely loved it. You can read my review again here – I really meant it when I called it “a warm and unforgettable collection of happy ever afters” – and if you’d like to find out more about the group, I also have a lovely guest post from Helena Fairfax that you can read again here. This time, it’s an “uplifting collection of feel-good festive stories” – and I was so looking forward to it!
When the magic of Christmas is just what you’re looking for…
There’s something magical about Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium, and at Christmas she brings an added sparkle to the inhabitants of the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge. Customers who step over her threshold find an eccentric collection of gifts, but Miss Moonshine has a rare knack for providing exactly what they need: a strange Advent calendar whose doors give a glimpse of a happy ending; a vintage typewriter that types a ghostly message from Christmas past; a mirror in a silver case that reflects the person you’d like to be.
Step inside Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, and the thing you need most for Christmas will be right there, waiting for you…
Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting festive stories guaranteed to warm your heart.
This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the magic of Christmas.
Christmas always does seem to be the perfect time for reading short stories – so much to do, and never enough time to settle down and really immerse yourself in a book. When I read the previous collection, I devoured it in one glorious sitting – but life rather conspired against that this time, so it really was perfect timing to be picking up a book that I could dip into, reading and savouring each individual story.
The stories are linked by Miss Moonshine herself, her timeless emporium through the arch with its red and white flowers, the welcoming glow from its windows, and the Yorkshire setting of Haven Bridge: there’s always a particular gift, often chosen for the characters, that drives the story, and more than a touch of magic. But every one is very different, every one capturing romance and the spirit of Christmas in an entirely different way, and the whole collection is the perfect showcase for each of its talented authors.
I had planned to pick out a small number of my personal favourites – but that’s quite impossible this time because I really loved every single one.
Mary Jayne Baker‘s The Ghost in the Machine is the perfect choice for the opening story, a nicely done introduction to the emporium itself, Miss Moonshine and Nelson the dog, and a few lovely echoes from the last collection: it’s very funny and a tad quirky, but also an unexpectedly touching love story.
The Boy Next Door by Helen Pollard is a rather lovely story set in 1982, part told through the diary of seventeen year old Lizzie (with perfect touches of 80s colour, and sometimes very funny), partly the really affecting story of her mother Jan finding love where she least expects it. And I really loved Sophie Claire‘s My True Love Gave to Me, where Christmas for Jason is overshadowed by fears for the future, funny but also immensely moving.
When I read Kate Field‘s story in the first collection, I remember saying I’d like to read a whole book set around its characters – I felt the same about How to Save Christmas, a gorgeous story firmly anchored in the setting and community, overflowing with tinsel and baubles while preparing for the village nativity, and the loveliest multi-generational story about opening up and letting others in. A Raven’s Gift by Angela Wren is very different, and really original – such a cleverly constructed story with a perfect emotional touch.
You’ll already know how very much I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from Helena Fairfax, and her story Make My Wish Come True really was the most perfect Christmas read – set in 1912, with shadows gathering around the uncertainties of the future, with authentic historical detail, endearing characters and relationships, and a tear in my eye more than once as the story unfolded. And Marie Laval‘s Christmas Magic was just so thoroughly lovely, set around the struggling Temperance Cafe, with the most wonderful characters and some real magic.
Melinda Hammond‘s story takes us further back in time – this time it’s 1831, and The Timepiece is the loveliest story of love and loss and the seeming impossibility of moving on, set against a background of the mills and the hardships of their workers, and the possibilities for change.
And I remember being particularly impressed by Jacqui Cooper‘s story in the last collection (I’d so like to read a book by her!), and Miss Moonshine’s Advent Calendar really was the most perfect way to close the collection – beautifully constructed around that advent calendar, so poignant in its treatment of loneliness and new beginnings, and the very definition of heart-warming.
This whole collection is just so wonderful – do buy your own copy for those precious moments of me-time over the festive season, and it really would be the most perfect of Christmas gifts for any romance reader. When I read the last collection, I expressed the wish that Miss Moonshine, the wonderful Napoleon and the emporium were real… I now believe they just might be, and I really do hope this wonderful group of writers decide to visit her again in the future, because I know she’ll be there, waiting for them to share her stories…
Praise for Miss Moonshine:
“Each story is heart-warming, fun and engaging to read. One of those rare books that is literally unputdownable…It is joyous, uplifting, and it leaves you on a high. Joy incarnate!” Frankie Reviews
“As each story ended, I was left with a rosy, warm glow, and an eager anticipation of what was to come in the next magical story.” Jo at Jaffa Reads Too
Meet Authors on the Edge
I’ll finish by sharing some links to the other appearances on Being Anne of some of these wonderful authors…
Helen Pollard – Review of The Little French Guesthouse
(And I will just mention some other Christmas books by the authors that are already on my reading list. I so enjoyed Sophie Claire’s short story in this collection that I do plan to read and review her latest book, The Christmas Holiday, before the decorations go up. And I really mustn’t miss out the first Christmas book from Marie Laval, Bluebell’s Christmas Magic: it’s available now for pre-order, published on 19th November – and yes, I will be reading and reviewing…!)