Monday 2 November 2020

Tinsel: The Girls who Invented Christmas by Sibéal Pounder


Link to publisher

Published by: Bloomsbury, 29th October 2020

We love seasonal reading! And, having thoroughly enjoyed the fabulous array of 'spooky' stories on offer this year, we are preparing to move on to-dare I say it-Christmas. There are some utterly magical Christmas corkers around but when we saw this release from Bloomsbury on Netgalley, we knew, just from the front cover, that we instantly wanted to read it. I'm so glad that we did, because this has to be one of the best Christmas books we've ever read...

When destitute Blanche Claus meets Rinki on a street corner on Christmas Day, a magical and unbreakable bond forms between the two girls. With a love of Christmas and mince pie picnics in the snow, they dream up a plan big enough to change the whole future of Christmas. But when an unexpected and magical turn of events cause the girls to be separated, can they find a way to make their dream come true? And can they find a way back to each other?

This mesmerising novel is everything you hope a Christmas story will be; sparkly, glittery, magical, cosy and uplifting. But it is also SO much more. This is a story so full of heart that it will undoubtedly steal yours. It is a tale of deep friendship, feminism and magic so cleverly plotted that it twists the traditional story of 'Santa' as we know it into a new but empowering explanation of how it really came about...through the dreams and actions of two girls.

Blanche and Rinki's friendship is the heart of the story, as solid and beautiful as the ice in the North Pole. It is in the North Pole that we meet the elves- characters who provide familiarity, humour and bags of fun and energy. The frolicking Christmas tree is hilarious whereas Mr. Krampus makes for a sinister, vindictive baddy- a shadow on Blanche's glittering horizon.

We loved that the origins of the girls' story was anchored in a London from the past. This instantly conjured echoes of A Christmas Carol and Oliver and gave the tale familiar roots. We adored Rinki's story as much as Blanche's and thought it was lovely that Sibéal Pounder explored the generosity of the rich and how it changed the future of both Rinki and Blanche. Mr. Krampus was the antithesis of Captain Garland and Teddy with his cruel and miserly attitude - incapable of allowing the the girls to prevail in their talent and ambition - and then there is the brilliant and genius appearance of Santa himself...although not as we know him. 

And if the above isn't enough, there is a shipwreck, a sleigh and the clever purpose of tinsel thrown in for good measure. 

This novel is simply glorious - a wintry delight. It is Christmassy without Christmas taking centre stage. What does take centre stage is Blanche's determination and tenacity, her love for the people around her and her generosity of spirit; strong enough to change the entire future of the world. Oh, and of course the mince pie picnics in the snow are ABSOLUTELY central to the plot, for you're not going to be forgetting the magic of those in a hurry! In fact, I think mince pie picnics have changed my life forever...all I need is the snow! 

Tinsel is available to buy now. A big thankyou to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for allowing me the chance to review. 

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