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Publisher's Summary

For years Jeanette Winterson has loved writing a new story at Christmastime, and here she brings together 12 of her brilliantly imaginative, funny, and bold tales. For the Twelve Days of Christmas - a time of celebration, sharing, and giving - she offers these 12 plus one: a personal story of her own Christmas memories.

These tales open a portal into the spirit of the season, when time slows down and magic starts to happen. From trees with mysterious powers to a tinsel baby that talks, philosophical fairies to flying dogs, a haunted house to a disappearing train, Winterson's innovative stories encompass the childlike and spooky wonder of Christmas, perfect for listening to by the fire with loved ones or while traveling home for the holidays.

Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic courtesy of one of our most fearless and accomplished writers.

©2016 Jeanette Winterson (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Spirited Christmas Listen

This was an interestingly odd, off beat and at times charmingly engaging collection of stories. The book starts with the author's fascinating overview of the history of Christmas--something I really enjoyed. Then, the collection alternates between a short story narrated beautifully by Church and a short feast chapter read by the author. Winterson uses a very conversational style with the stories and recipes that make up the feast portions of the book. I loved her chatty advice about cooking and all her wonderful back stories about UK Christmas celebrations that went with the feasts.

My favorite of the short stories was the first in the collection, titled the Spirit of Christmas. This was magic filled and was so well written that it made me want to read more of Winterson's non-Christmas writing. For me, this chapter also made the whole audiobook worth the price of admission when grouped with the feast chapters.

Now we get to the odd part, the part that caused several friends to quit the book with a shudder. I hate spoilers but I do have to warn you that the author included a fair number of very scary, creepy ghost stories in the collection. At first, I thought she was following along with a Dickensian theme of ghosts at Christmas time with a Christmas message. In reality, the ghost stories were set at Christmas time, but often were not really about Christmas. It's hard to explain, and I'm still unsure about some of the stories.

I'll be honest, I skipped through several chapters and occasionally just listened to the feast sections. This was definitely not a book that I would suggest for family listening during the holidays--a bit too strange. I think in the end the theme may have been about putting things right at Christmas time, but that's just a guess.

I plan on listening again next year and maybe then I'll get through every story. Recommended if you like ghost stories or if you are willing to take a chance on something unusual. Just keep in mind that you might have to skip a few parts here and there.

127 of 135 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Delightful!

This book 's tales are autobiographical (I think) and are truly inspirational, although some "holier than thou" types may feel apoplectic. I laughed heartily, wept unashamedly, finished feeling the enduring love and good will to all that make Christmastide . The recipes are for experienced cooks - those who create delicious food by instinct rather than measuring cup. In the end, it left me wanting more, as a good book should.

40 of 43 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoughtful, wry, warm. Pitch perfect Winterson

Loved everything about this festive little book! Nice to have something to listen to in the weeks leading up to Xmas to remind us to dig deeper. Personal stories and recipes were excellent palate cleansers between chapters and as a long time fan of Winterson, a nice slice of her personality served up without the frosting of her (albeit delicious) prose. If you want something "holiday" that isn't just shinny wrapping and sweetness this is for you.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Unique Christmas listening experience

With its truly gothic stories and quirky memoirs, this very Christmasy collection turned out to be just what I am searching for in the annual rush and crush of a university's December. Weird, thought-provoking, atmospheric, and beautifully nostalgic, in turns and sometimes all at once.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best Book of the Season

This book took me completely by surprise - it was by far the most enjoyable listen of my holiday season, and not only because Ms. Winterson has created a narrative that binds together the ties of our common humanity (not an easy thing in today's era of supersensitivity). This is one instance where I can't imagine just reading this - the performance and narration brought this to life in a way I couldn't have imagined from the printed word.

The stories, impeccably voiced by Imogen Church, were well-written, varied, and surprising - chilling and touching and thought-provoking by turns, the disparate motifs delicately linked by holiday commonality. Listening to the author-read portions interposed between the stories was like visiting with a good friend - informal, effortlessly engaging, and unaffected. Historical notes, holiday food traditions, and autobiographical accounts fit seamlessly amid the tales and were utterly captivating. I was almost heartbroken when the book ended because it really was like bidding farewell to a favorite visitor. Now I have one more reason to look forward to the holidays - this book is going on my annual holiday listen list without doubt.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed Feelings

I had mixed feelings about this collection of stories. Some seemed more suitable for Halloween than for Christmas. I would also like to have had a PDF copy of her recipes for the feasts as it would be much easier to try some of them if I could read the recipes as I cook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 12-24-18

Unexpectedly Quirky and Wonderful

This collection of stories wasn't at all what I expected . . . not exactly what I had in mind, but not this . . . Unconventional in ways, then in other ways very traditional. At times I didn't want to like it as much as I ultimately did. The author certainly subscribes to some ideas that I don't. Yet she doesn't push them upon anyone, and the love that pours forth from her stories is so pure and real that you can't help but love her in return. There is wisdom and reconciliation in her spirit, and a deep joy in celebrating Christmas. Listen and reflect on the tales and the near perfect narration. Some are funny. Many are poignant. Others take you off into a place of dreams and fantasy, wishes and fears. From the innocence of childhood to seasoned old soldiers, she covers the gambit, taking the listener along for the ride. A great listen for Christmas . . . or the New Year.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Eclectic Collection of Memorable Tales

This is a really nice eclectic collection of Christmas-themed short stories. There are about 3 ghost-centered stories and about 3 children-centered stories, but all of them are grounded in human relationships and the importance of gathering with friends and/or loved ones around food. Most are set in modern times with main characters from atypical family units, so it was a heartwarming reminder that one doesn't have to come from a proper Victorian household to have a valuable celebration steeped in tradition.

The only drawback to the audio narration is that the recipes for each of the 12 dishes are essentially meaningless. Listing the name of each food item at the beginning of each story is a sweet framing device, but you kind of just tune out the recipe being read out loud, because unless you're frantically jotting everything down you're not going to be able to recreate these meals. This audiobook was excellently performed. I just wish it came with a little PDF of the 12 recipes; some sounded good!

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to expand their mental and emotional vault of Christmas tales. The one set in New York is my favorite! Such touching yet believable characters. I might even give physical editions of this collection away as presents to loved ones next year. Thank you, Jeanette Winterson.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great daily deal !

Not Christmas storys you might suspect. I will certainly keep my eye on the author.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 01-13-19

Don't waste the time or the credit on this one.

I kept waiting for the stories to get better but they never did. The stories were rather dry and not very imaginative. The only thing Christmasy about any of them was the time of year they were placed in. I guess if you like Christmas ghost stories you might be a fan, but they just weren't all that good. Furthermore, I feel that the book should have come with a warning that it contains homosexual behavior. I don't care what pepole do in private, but I don't want to watch it, read about it, or hear about it, especially in a Christmas story. At least readers of this review will be forewarned.

Save your credit and your time on another book.