Six Tales of Christmas
You can't fault Jenny Twist's writing and this magical Christmas collection is up there with the best of her work. Six festive stories written in Twist’s inimitable style would make a great gift for anyone this Christmastime.
Almost everyone must know or recognise an Elaine and therefore sympathise with everyone in the first tale, especially Uncle Albert, so no prizes for guessing who gets the last laugh in this uplifting story. The short nativity story will bring a smile to everyone’s lips, while I defy you not to shed a tear when you read how and why Jamey must go into battle with an alien. Home for Christmas, Marion and The Magic of Christmas are three unusual stories that will stay with you and make you think long after you’ve finished reading them.
When you read Ms Twist’s stories, you need to keep an open mind, expect the unexpected, and relax in the certain knowledge that you’re always in for a highly enjoyable read.
Tales from the Dark Side
I’ve read one or two of these stories before in different, multiple author anthologies, but since Jenny
Twist’s stories are so eminently re-readable, I was very happy to see them – along with some exciting new ones – put together in this collection.
In Uncle Vernon, we meet the larger than life McCaffrey family, with old Granny McCaffrey living on cornflakes and ham sandwiches (and probably not being able to tell the difference between them), the well-intentioned big Da and his strapping sons and daughters, down to 10 year old Bridget, "tiny and dainty, as if there hadn't been quite enough material left when it came to making the last child and she had to make do with what was left over from her much bigger brothers and sisters", and the one-eyed cat Genghis.
Oh, and let's not forget the eponymous uncle, who inhabits the cellar at Halloween and who, according to Janice McCaffrey is only "half-programmed". It's hardly surprising that Gary's girlfriend, the prim and proper Alison, spends half her time in a daze - and that's not just because she's in love with Gary! No, indeed, Uncle Vernon has much to answer for.
Twist's special magical dolls’ house, in A Victorian Dolls’ House took me straight back to my own childhood and my beloved dolls’ house with its precious inhabitants. I used to think mine came to life at night as well. This haunting story is one I'm not likely to forget in a hurry. The very chilling The Man with no Face and Catch Me If You Can affected me similarly. They both stirred up old childhood memories and felt very personal to me, becoming stories I know I will want to keep to mull over and re-read. The final story, Turning the Clock Back, is probably the most disturbing, making me think of that old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’, but how can anyone not sympathise with Agnes, the devoted mother?
Jenny Twist’s writing is flawless, often poetic and sometimes prophetic, and it cannot be denied that she is a consummate storyteller. Both these collections offer a sample of some of her best writing, and I highly recommend them.
It's definitely time for me to bring out all five cats for both of them!