Saturday, 22 December 2012

Book 92 of 2012: Christmas Stories

In my search for Christmassy books to keep me going through the end of November and the run up to Christmas I basically downloaded anything which had the word Christmas in the title (and was free). One such book was Edward Berens' Christmas Stories, there weren't actually any reviews for this (or any information about what it actually contained) but I thought that it couldn't be too bad, and at 160 pages, even if it was bad, it wouldn't take too long to finish.

This is collection of three short stories, which seem to take place in similar settings/with the same characters. There isn't actually any real mention of Christmas which makes me think that this was originally published as some sort of moral tract to be given at Christmas time. It was originally published in 1823 before the really traditional Victorian Christmas stories started to appear.

The first two stories are virtually identical, one dealing with poaching, the second with smuggling. Both look at the impact that this could have no only on the person committing the crime, but also the people who buy the products, allowing the practice to continue. As can be expected from the beginning, neither of these end well. The third, and final story, focuses on the charity which is handed out to the poor in one community; two different landowners have the task of handing this out, one is stricter than the other, while the other is more laidback but also neglects other parish responsibilities because the money for these has all been given away.

Although they were written almost two hundred years ago, you could probably transfer the stories to modern situations quite easily. In fact, you could probably update the smuggling story to deal with illegal downloads from the internet and the message would remain the same.

I did find the stories to be quite preachy. There was a strong Christian message in there, which might put some readers off. It was an okay story, but it wasn't really what I was expecting from the title and probably wouldn't be one I revisit in the future.

"Tho' here again I must say, that I don't think either of these sorts of lawyers over-paid, when you consider how many years most of them work before they get anything, (many I believe, never get any thing at all)."Location 180

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