Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Review: Christmas Pie by Emma Craig

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. One of the things that makes the season so special is re-visiting all those traditions you’ve grown up with and the ones you’ve added on along the way. For me, one of those traditions is reading Emma Craig’s Christmas Pie at least twice. Once right before Thanksgiving and once closer to Christmas.

 Unlike most girls her age, Polly McNamara did not go out with friends to parties or on sleigh rides with charming beaux. She stayed home to take care of her ailing mother and only dreamed of a world of boundless riches and endless fun. But when shopping for a Christmas gift in Chinatown, she received a mysterious coin from an ancient-looking woman - and watched a series of remarkable events unfold...

 Soon, Polly's secret ingredient for happiness would appear in the unlikely form of her handsome and wealthy employer - James Drayton. She discovered he wasn't the snobbish and cold-hearted Scrooge she had always thought, but instead a lonely soul in need of a family. But could their love bridge the class divide and bring them the Christmas miracle they both needed? With a dash of faith and a pinch of patience, Polly set out to cook up a holiday wish as scrumptious as...Christmas Pie.

The book begins a little before Thanksgiving in San Francisco at the turn of the century. Polly, while walking home from work, wanders into a curio shop, drawn by a set of combs in the window she thinks her mother will love. In the shop she is given a coin by a strange old woman and soon the things she wishes for begin to come true. Enter then, James Drayton, Polly’s stern employer. James is a bit of a scrooge but something in Polly melts his cold exterior. Instead of just a typist, he begins to see her as a real person and eventually, the woman of his dreams.

Events, of course, conspire to keep them apart and a colorful cast of extras add rich layers to this Christmas tale. My favorite scene is most certainly when James’ rambunctious puppy has a run-in with a cart full of geese. The chemistry between James and Polly really begins to take off from there. She resists him, of course, for he is her employer and most certainly not of her class but James continues to win her over, starting first with her wheelchair bound mother, his dedication to orphans, and finally, helping to find her brother who was lost at sea.

At times a little purple in prose, this is most definitely a sweet romance worthy of any Christmas. A little bit of magic and mystery, a good dose of familial love and laughter, and the discovery of the one thing you’ve always longed for but never knew it … the perfect combination. I bought the book when it was first published and look forward to reading it each and every year. Out of print now, you can only purchase Christmas Pie used but I encourage anyone who stumbles across the gem to not let it slip through your fingers. 

(this review can also be found at Reading Romance Books)


EP said...

*waves* I stumbled over here from 20SB. Hello!

I've never heard of this book, but it sounds like something I would enjoy. Anything romance-y AND turn of the century? I'm all about it.

How many times have you read it this season?

Vickie said...

I am running behind on The Advent Tour. So I am playing catch up. So I am looking for your post and then I see why not...Congrats on your new baby!

I hope you have fun and he lets you sleep in for Christmas:)

Happy Holidays!

Kailana said...

Howdy! You have a Christmas Spirit Award waiting for you at my blog...