December 26, 2014

Friday Book Blogging

I read a couple of books, but the one that has stuck with me recently (likely because of the holiday) is Stephanie Barron's Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas. Barron is expert at capturing the tenor of Jane Austen's Regency time-period. She invokes language and customs that are historically accurate and imbues Jane and her siblings with personalities that we want to believe.
Aside from that, we follow Jane to the neighbor's at Christmastime in this story and learn how drastically traditions have changed. Christmas Eve is a solemn holy day. Christmas Day is a feast day celebrating the First Day of Christmas. A church service in the morning celebrating the successful arrival of baby Jesus was common. There are no orgies of presents.
In the case of the story, only the youngest child receives a single gift. Each subsequent "day of Christmas" following, another single gift is bestowed. Until the Twelfth Day which is Epiphany. Twelfth Night is the evening before Epiphany. That is celebrated with a Feast of Fools or Topsy Turvy when everything is turned on its head and the children rule.
The story Barron tells is good enough, but what I really enjoyed was reading about how different Christmas used to be.

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