For my Christmas read this year I thought I’d try something a little different – some short stories (16, to be precise) in the form of A Scandinavian Christmas: Festive Tales for a Nordic Noël. I read a few an evening over a week, enjoying the idea of getting into the Christmas spirit in a small way each day.
However. This is where I have to say if you are looking for a heart-warming, happy Christmas vibe then A Scandinavian Christmas is not the book for you.
The other side of Christmas
While themes you might associate with the positive side of Christmas are here – such as family, kindness, forgiveness, religious overtones, relationships with grandparents, the overwhelming focus is actually on stories with a much darker and sometimes quite depressing message.
You might recognise a few of these
The set of stories are written in a timespan from 1845 – 2003, so there is a wide scope in regards to the tone and ideas. I liked how the repeated theme of nature crops up, particularly the Christmas Rose, which featured in two of the short stories and was about as uplifting as these tales got.
I appreciate that these stories tap into the dark side of traditional fairy tales, indeed Hans Christian Anderson does write a few featured in A Scandinavian Christmas including one that I do actually remember my gran telling me. The harrowing story of The Little Match Girl – but I didn’t realise it was written by Hans Christian Anderson. So maybe there is something in generations passing on distressing tales to make you appreciate things aren’t so bad? I mean, it’s heart-breaking. If you’re in need of a good cry, give it a read.
It was dreadfully cold; it was snowing fast, and was almost dark, as evening came on – the last evening of the year.the little match girl
So, don’t be fooled by its hygge inspired cover – a cheery Christmas read this is not. BUT a delve into traditional fairy-tale style storytelling it most definitely is. A fascinating glimpse into this genre and great if you want an alternative Christmas themed story!
- Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC;
- Get your copy of A Scandinavian Christmas here;
- Published by Vintage Classics October 2021;
- 208 pages;
- My rating:
I’ve seen this book pop up before, and felt intrigued to know more. It seems like it’s more of a serious read, but I love the idea of reading short stories in the lead up to Christmas. The cover illustrations would really stand out on a book shelf. I read A Christmas to Remember by Anton Du Beke over Christmas, and would recommend it if you like historical romance. 🙂 xx
Helen | Helen’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog
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Thank you – will add that to my Christmas reads list for next year! Yes, the cover of this one is so gorgeous and festive, but the stories are definitely darker than the cover suggests!