Forlag London : Headline , cop.
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Gracie Phipps goes on a quest together with Minnie Maude Mudway to find the rag-and-bone donkey named Charlie which has vanished after its owner suffered a fatal incident. The children try to find the donky themselves, but eventually realize they need help from an adult.
I found it touching that Gracie decides to confide in her old neighbor, Mr. Wiggins, who gives her advice on who she can trust with her information.
There is, for me, a Dickensian feel to the story as the plot is set in the poorest areas of London where people are trying to scrape by on next to nothing. The general living conditions in London’s East End did not exactly seem comfortable, to put it mildly. Descriptions of how Christmas was celebrated I feel are similar to those in the Scrooge story written in 1843. There seemed to be a village feel in the local areas of the city. It makes sense as it consisted of villages already grown together.
8 year old Minnie Maude, whose uncle died, is touchingly innocent and vulnerable at the same time as she has to deal with the serious accident that happened to her uncle. She is lucky to meet Gracie who looks out for her in spite of her own tight schedule doing chores and errands every day, all day, which was the normal thing for children at the time. It brings me close to tears that Gracie’s dream is to learn how to read, which we all take for granted today.
I get a Christmas feel reading about the snow, sleet and wind the children have to deal with while they walk past the more well-to-do households who have Christmas decorations up. Trying to stay warm and dry in their thin clothing and bad shoes didn’t seem easy. The story has an interesting mix of serious issues and Christmas theme which Anne Perry does so well in these Christmas novellas. The constant tea-drinking lightens the mood of the story somewhat. Must say I quite enjoy that whenever I read stories set in Britain. Sometimes I found it an entertaining puzzle to work out the meaning of the written cockney dialect. I felt it added an authenticity to the story.
A Christmas Promise is recommended for fans of Anne Perry’s work and readers of Crime Fiction in general.
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