Deeds of Darkness;
Deeds of Light
Donna Fletcher Crow
Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.
Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 10, 2016
Do you have a cherished Christmas fantasy? Mine, which I’ve nurtured for years, but am yet to realize, is that I’ll have all my work and preparations done by the first week in December and then be able to spend the rest of the month sitting by a beautifully lit tree, sipping tea and reading Christmas stories. Well, as the song says, “You gotta have a dream if you’re going to have a dream come true.” So I’m still dreaming.
At least through the years I’ve had the joy of writing lots of scenes of Christmas into my novels, so if you envision a time for reading as part of your holiday, you might like to know about these.
My most thoroughly Christmas novel is An All-Consuming Fire which is set in a monastery and takes the reader through Advent, Christmas and Epiphany with Felicity who is planning her Christmastide wedding. Yes, she and Antony have finally set the date and dreams are about to come true— if Felicity can evade the murderer stalking the Yorkshire moors and resist murdering her pushy mother who is trying to turn the whole event into a royal wedding.
Another novel I have long cherished for its Christmas scenes is Where Love Restores, one of the late Regency novels in my Where There is Love Series. Pre-Victorian Christmases were quite different from our ideas of a traditional English Christmas filled with the traditions made popular by Prince Albert and Charles Dickens, but they were no less festive—especially in a great house like the Duke of Beaufort’s Badminton. And the Lady Georgiana is determined that this will be one to remember—even if it means driving the family, servants and Granville to distraction.
At the other end of the spectrum would have been Kathryn’s first Christmas in a pioneer shack in the Idaho desert. How could they have any sort of a celebration, even a Christmas tree when the only vegetation for miles around was those atrocious sagebrush bushes?
Perhaps the ultimate Christmas-through-the-ages read would be my Arthurian epic Glastonbury. I was amazed as I looked through it recently to see that there is Christmas in every section: In Roman Britain the clash between Christmas and Saturnalia; In Arthurian times, first the simple Christ Mass Arthur spends with the hermit brothers in Glastonbury, and, then, years later the glorious marriage and coronation of Arthurius and Gwenhumara at Caerleon by Archbishop Dubricius; In Saxon times, the baptism of King Aethelberht in Canterbury on Christmas Day— making England officially Christian; Then a Norman Christmas on a manor where all the twelve days are observed with feasting and revelry; And finally, a grand Tudor Christmas in the court of Henry VIII.
However you spend your days of Advent preparation and Christmas celebration—whether reading quietly by a tree or feasting with family and friends—and hopefully there will be some of both—I wish you the most joyous of holy days. And, hopefully to add to that, with my memories of attending Messiah at Albert Hall on one long-ago glorious Christmas, I offer you the “Hallelujah Chorus” by the Royal Society https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZEtVbJT5c
Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com