(Review) Letters From Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Baillie Tolkien

Publisher and Publication Date: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2009. First published 1976.
Genre: Letters.
Format: Kindle e-book.
Pages: 113.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Tolkien readers. Readers of Christmas stories.
Rating: Excellent.

Link @ Amazon

Additional links:
Tolkien Estate-the official website

Letters From Father Christmas is a series of letters written and illustrated by Tolkien to his children. The letters are left for the children in their Christmas stockings beginning in 1920 and ending in 1943. John is the oldest and the recipient of the 1st letter. Priscilla is the last child to receive a letter.
The letters are endearing, personal, creative, and memorable.

My Thoughts:
I accidently came across this e-book while searching for Tolkien stories. I am so glad.
Several reasons why I love this book.
1. The Christmas letters show the personal side and life of the Tolkien family.
2. The letters include information about life outside their home. For example, World War II. How other children are impacted by the war.
3. The Christmas letters are shown themselves in the original handwriting, in color, and with illustrations. Then, the letters are typed out in a readable format.
4. The creative Tolkien is shown by small stories about Red Elves, the Elf secretary, and dear Polar Bear.
5. I love how they are signed by “Your loving Father Christmas.”
6. I love how Tolkien (the letter writer of course) doesn’t leave out the children as they grow older. Priscilla is the last to be gifted with the letters. In her letters, Father Christmas remembers her brothers with messages to them.
7. The last letter is endearing as it is the last to be written because Priscilla is older. However, Father Christmas will not forget his “old friends.”

This book is a wonderful addition to a Tolkien lover.
It’s also festive with the color illustrations.


(Review) An Amish Christmas: December in Lancaster County by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Barbara Cameron, Kelly Long

Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Nelson. 2009.
Genre: Amish fiction. Christian fiction. Christmas stories.
Pages: 448.
Format: Trade paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of Amish stories.
Rating: Good for A Choice to Forgive. The other 3 stories are okay.

Link @ Amazon

An Amish Christmas holds 4 stories.
1. A Choice to Forgive by Beth Wiseman is the story of a young widow named Lydia. She has 3 children. A man who she once loved re-enters her life.
2. A Miracle for Miriam by Kathleen Fuller is the story of a young woman who doesn’t feel pretty. She actually has low self-worth. A young man who once meant a great deal to her when they were younger is now interested.
3. One Child by Barbara Cameron is the story of a young couple struggling with infertility.
4. Christmas Cradles by Kelly Long is the story of two women who are mid-wives in the Amish community.

My Thoughts:
I want to 1st begin by saying I am not an avid Amish fiction reader. This is not a genre I enjoy reading. I visited my sisters in the region west of Houston a few years ago. I was browsing in an old general type store in Fayetteville, TX. This signed copy book was for sale in an area marked out for the author Beth Wiseman who lives in this town. An Amish Christmas has been in my TBR stack a few years.

My favorite story is A Choice to Forgive for several reasons.
1. I feel this is the most well-developed story. It is longer.
2. The main characters have a long history that has a “present” offering a reopening. But, in reopening, old wounds must be healed.
3. Lydia is a cautious person. After all, she has 3 children who depend on her, plus she is dealing with past betrayals.
4. I have empathy for her. I feel an investment in her story because I can relate. She is believable and real.
5. Lydia is heroic because she is a single mom with 3 children. One of them is a teenage daughter with her own issues.

One of the reasons I am not a fan of Amish fiction is the characters are often too squeaky clean. In An Amish Christmas, I feel the authors try to show a believable and imperfect side of the Amish people. Some more than others.