My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

A complimentary advanced reader copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!) My review was in no way influenced by this consideration.


This is the book that made me eat my words.

I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times before that usually I really dislike short stories. I mean, I’ll read the occasional, well-written short story on its own and enjoy it. And it’s not like I dislike short-form writing–I’m an essayist, at heart, and I like things succinct. But there’s something about short-story anthologies that just makes me kind of …twitchy. Changing characters, tone and plotlines constantly is hard for me when my head gets buried so deeply in a story.

But: Stephanie Perkins. Rainbow Rowell. Kiersten White and Myra McEntire. Jenny Han, Laini Taylor, Gayle Forman! Can we say the authors made me do it?

My True Love Gave to Me starts off with a bang, with the most adorable Rainbow Rowell story ever, “Midnights,” about two friends and their encounters each New Years Eve. Have I mentioned before that I’ve still never read a Rowell novel? This was my introduction, and now I must have more. I’ve never read Kelly Link before, either, but I was utterly fascinated by her story, “The Lady and the Fox.” Stephanie Perkins’ “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” is a lovely, sweetly unfolding romance. Despite its short length, it’s nothing short of what readers have come to expect from Perkins, and I fell completely in love with North. Kiersten White’s “Welcome to Christmas, CA” was another favorite, with its funny little diner in a funny little town, filled with entirely charming characters. And Laini Taylor finished off the book as only Laini Taylor can, with “The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer,” a wonderment of a fantasy tale that includes magic and wings and her particularly lush writing style.

Like most short story anthologies, there are a couple that I didn’t connect with on a personal level, but I did still find them all sort of fascinating, just as a little something different to read. One or two–told from a male POV–are a bit crass, and one (Gayle Forman’s) contains some swearing, so you might be on alert for that. Otherwise, I found the book charming, and I’ll likely come back and re-read some of the stories. If you’re looking for a different sort of holiday read, maybe this should be next on your list!

Favorite Quote: 

Mags had been holding herself rigid, so that she’d still be standing upright, even if Noel let go. She stopped that now.

3.75 stars (which I don’t have a graphic for, so let’s go 4?). My True Love Gave to Me releases tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it!

 

4 Stars

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