Friday 28 October 2022

Book review : Christmas in Newfoundland 2 : Memories and Mysteries - Mike Martin

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.

There's something about that song in particular that really brings out the essence of Christmas in my mind. It's not one specific memory. It's more like a layering of festive feelings and mental snapshots of Christmases past. I can remember singing it at primary school assemblies in the run up to the Christmas holidays. I can hear the delicate, seemingly fragile notes echoing around the old town church as the school choir sang during a carol service. I can remember it playing on a CD (or probably a cassette back then !) in the background as we giggled and squealed and ripped open our childhood presents that we'd been desperately trying to define by touching the packages under the tree for the past few weeks. I can picture it on the CD player in the kitchen as I rustled up another batch of mince pies, peppermint cremes and cinnamon cookies. Mike Martin's book is very similar in that it layers up stories and specific memories that give a real sense of Christmas through the years in the small town of Grand Bank.

Fans of the Windflower series will enjoy catching up with the main characters from the books. We watch Winston, Sheila and their two daughters in the run up to the big day, dealing with the girls' bad behaviour (as a parent, I couldn't help but smile, both at the overexcited little girls and their parents' clever way of dealing with it). Eddie Tizzard has to deal with the bad weather and try to make it home in time for Christmas with his wife and their new son. Herb Stoodley, all-round good guy and provider of multiple muffins and cheesecake at The Mug Up, has a bigger delivery on his hands in the middle of a snowstorm and comes out as a touching, sensitive hero.

But there is more to it than that. You will also get a general overview of Christmas past, with delicate hints of Newfoundland lore thrown into the mixture. The youngsters of Grand Bank back in the 1950's and 60's, dreaming of getting their hands on a new pair of ice skates so that they could go back down to the lake and play hockey with their friends ... the Mummers going round from house to house sharing a drink and a song and waiting to see if they would be recognised ... Tibb's Eve, marking the (for some very welcome !) start to Christmas drinking.

This is a heartwarming, nostalgic collection of festive-themed stories, perfect for getting into the Christmassy mood in the run up to the big day. Old-timers (like me and the generation before me) will enjoy a peek back into the family-focused festive memories of their own childhoods, but younger readers will do well to look back on times past, relive the uplifting feelings of spending time with your friends and neighbours and maybe put the technology away for a while to create some satisfying memories of their own for years to come.

RRP : $19.95 

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ottawa Press and Publishing (26 Sept. 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 160 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1990896030
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1990896033
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.97 x 1.02 x 21.59 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book in order to share my honest review.


  1. Thank you, Cheryl. You have captured the intent and spirit of the book quite well. I really enjoyed your review. Mike Martin


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...