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The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan

I"m not sure what led me to read this book, but I am very glad I did. Maybe it was the pretty cover, or the setting of mid-1800s New York. My family has never done 'Santa Claus' in any way, shape or form, so it was an unusual choice for me. However, from the very first page, I fell in love.

The Legend of Holly Claus is, in essence, a fairytale, and I'm a sucker for fairytales. The infant princess, Holly, is cursed by a terrible warlock and is then raised in a very sheltered, lonely way. She has a few unusual, loyal to the bitter end friends (I love Euphemia and Empy in particular). Holly grows up looking at the world from the outside, yearning to experience life outside of the magical palace that keeps her safe, but isolated. She is a sweet, fairly simple character, which would in other stories come across as boring, but in this one it was in keeping with the straightforward simplicity of the fairytale-style adventure, and with the curse that has frozen her heart in a state of perpetual innocence.

After breaking out of Forever, her homeland, Holly lands on her feet in New York, finding a place to work at a toyshop, which is owned by a man named Mr. Carroll, a brooding, enigmatic figure who lurks behind curtains and never says a word that is not bad-tempered. Then the dashing Mr. Hartman sweeps her off her feet. The men in the story are much more complicated then Holly, adding a bit of darkness to keep the novel from being to sweet.

Ms. Ryan's writing has a certain charm to it that I was unable to resist. While this book is usually to be found in the children's section of a library or bookstore, it has enough weight and intelligence to entertain any age of reader. I've already read and enjoyed it more than once. I'll be reading it again next year, a Christmas tradition in the making.

I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.




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