Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Ultimately heartwarming Christmas short story
Cons: Maggie was annoying at times
The Bottom Line:
Tragedy but heart warming
A short, simple read
Simple, Heart Warming Short Story
I don't tend to read short stories. Part of it is that I have so many novels calling my name I don't have the time. Ironic for something that is short and therefore easier to read, right? But when I saw that Rhys Bowen had released a short story this year, I had to give "What Child is This?" a chance.
The story opens on Christmas Eve in London in 1940. It's the middle of the blitz, and rationing is in full effect, so it is looking like a very dismal Christmas for Maggie and Jack Harris. But then what little they do have is taken from them suddenly, and they find themselves on the streets. Jack goes looking for shelter and finds what looks like an abandoned house. Is it abandoned? What will Christmas day bring?
This really is a short story – it took me about an hour to read – but it contains a heartwarming story. Jack and Maggie go through a wide range of emotions in the course of roughly 24 hours in their life.
Rhys Bowen is best known for her historical mysteries, but this is more a slice of life story about hope born from tragedy. Those looking for twists or shocks will be disappointed. And that is something I had to remind myself of while reading the story.
And, in some ways, it is a character study of two characters put under very extreme circumstances. I did find Maggie a little annoying at times. I'm not saying her reaction to things wasn't realistic, but I found it annoying. However, I really did care for both Maggie and Jack.
The historical detail is fantastic. I really did feel like I was in London with Jack and Maggie as they dealt with this particular Christmas in their lives.
If you aren't quite ready to let Christmas go yet, I definitely recommend you check out "What Child is This?" It will warm your heart as you savor the Christmas that has just passed.