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The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

Title: The Girl Who Saved Christmas

Author: Matt Haig

Genre: Christmas, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Publisher: Canongate

Published: 12th October 2017

Format: Paperback

Pages: 352

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: The second magical book in the festive series, which began with A Boy Called Christmas, from number one bestselling author Matt Haig, and featuring enchanting illustrations from Chris Mould

What does it take to believe in magic? It is Christmas Eve and all is not well. Amelia Wishart is trapped in Mr Creeper’s workhouse and Christmas is in jeopardy. Magic is fading. If Christmas is to happen, Father Christmas knows he must find her. With the help of some elves, eight reindeer, the Queen and a man called Charles Dickens, the search for Amelia – and the secret of Christmas – begins . . .

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

~*~

Matt Haig’s delightful Christmas series continues with The Girl Who Saved Christmas. After Elfhelm is attacked by trolls, Father Christmas and the elves spend the next year trying to save Christmas – and trying to respond to a letter from Amelia Wishart, a girl so full of hope, Father Christmas wants to answer her. But then, Amelia is dragged away to Mr Creeper’s workhouse, her beloved cat, Captain Soot, taking up residence with Amelia’s favourite author, Charles Dickens.

But the magic of hope is fading, even as one of the workhouse residents tries to make people feel a little bit better in their dismal surrounds, and Christmas might cease to exist – that is, unless Father Christmas can find Amelia and restore her hope, and all with the help of Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens!

What a wonderful companion to A Boy Called Christmas! Picking up soon after the final events of that novel, The Girl Who Saved Christmas is set during Victorian times, when Queen Victoria has just started to rule, and is rather perplexed when Father Christmas crashes into her bedroom, and he begins to gather hope – and asks her to help him find Amelia, which leads him on a journey to find Charles Dickens, and eventually, Amelia so they can save Christmas together and deliver presents to every child in the world!

What a beautiful story driven by hope, that shows magic can occur even when in the darkest, and most desolate places. Again, it draws on the traditions and stories we know and love about Christmas, but presents the reinvigoration of Christmas, the Christmas that we all know and love, in a unique and warming way. Amelia’s hope and faith is restored – much like that of Scrooge in a Christmas Carol, as is Charles Dickens’ faith. Mr Creeper is the sinister Grinch-like character who seeks to suck any happiness out of the world – and is the kind of villain readers will love to hate.

It is the perfect book for Christmas – and I am keen for more Christmas stories, and more by Australian authors too that capture the Australian Christmas. There are so many stories to read – and I do love a good Christmas book like this one, and in a year that has been awful for so many, stories like these give hope and magic to those who read them.

I loved this addition to the series and am embarking on the third and what I think is the final one, Father Christmas and Me, which picks up where this one finishes. Matt Haig has deftly dealt with the realities of the workhouse and orphans in the Victorian Age yet has sprinkled it with the hope and magic that accompanies Christmas and has made it a must-read for the festive season.

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