Review: More Than Mistletoe by The Christmas Collective (2021)

Blurb

Cosy up for Christmas with 12 very different tales of love with all the festive feels!

More than Mistletoe, the debut anthology from The Christmas Collective, is an eclectic and inclusive mix of stories, with swoon-worthy characters, second chances and happy endings.

Between the pages, you will discover classic romance, festive thrillers, LGBTQ+ love stories, hilarious romcoms and historical settings, these stories really do span the whole spectrum of festive fiction.

Featuring twelve up and coming new authors, this refreshing, diverse and romantic read, is a must-have for Christmas 2021 that will leave you reaching for your Christmas jumper, gingerbread cookies and a mug of hot chocolate!

  • Lumikinos by Lucy Alexander
  • The Ghost of Christmas Past by Michelle Harris
  • Christmas for Two by Marianne Calver
  • August in December by Joe Burkett
  • Under the Christmas Tree by Cici Maxwell
  • Killing Christmas Eve by Jake Godfrey
  • Christmas and Cocktails by Jenny Bromham
  • Christmas at The Little Blu Bookshop by Sarah Shard
  • Not Today, Santa by Martha May Little
  • Sealed with a Christmas Kiss by Bláithín O’Reilly Murphy
  • Love Forever by Donna Gowland
  • The Last Christmas by S.L.Robinson

Review

I was delighted when The Christmas Collective reached out and asked if I would like to review More Than Mistletoe, and I owe them huge thanks not only for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review, but also for the wonderful festive gift box they sent out to reviewers. As we all know, book bloggers are completely impartial and not at all swayed by freebies, but we do not have hearts of stone, and I was deeply touched! Above all, I think it shows the enormous effort and care that has gone into producing this labour of love – of which, more later.

Onto the stories: as I have said before, I don’t tend to theme my reading around seasons, so it was perhaps appropriately Ellie-ish that I read this festive collection in the sunshine on holiday! I like a bit of juxtaposition, and reading snowy tales on the beach created the desired effect, although I suspect the intention is more that this book should be read curled up by a roaring fire with a mug of hot chocolate beside you. Which would definitely also work! The stories themselves are, as promised, a lovely, eclectic mix, and the perfect length for dipping into two or three at a time.

There’s a strong rom com vibe to many of the stories (it is Christmas, after all), but often with a twist or an unexpected slant that brings something new to the genre. There are also elements of mysteries, thrillers, quirky tales that don’t quite fit a single genre (my favourite sort of story!) – in short, definitely something for everyone. I enjoyed all of the stories: I loved the twist of ‘Lumikinos’ by Lucy Robinson, the gentle poignancy of ‘Christmas for Two’ by Marianne Calver, and the surprising change of mood provided by Jake Godfrey’s ‘Killing Christmas Eve’. I was particularly moved by the final story in the collection, S.L. Robinson’s ‘The Last Christmas’ – and one of the most exciting things is that several of the stories are being developed into full-length novels, so there are plenty of chances to add to the ‘books to watch out for’ list.

Indeed, in some ways the most important, heart-warming story of all is how this collection came into being. Authors supporting authors, working together to create something they believe in, is something I LOVE to see, and everything from the showcase style of putting the stories into their context (ie giving information about where they fit into a longer work), to the lovely, warm, funny biographies at the back of the book reveals that this is a truly collaborative, supportive venture, and I think The Christmas Collective deserve a massive pat on the back for all their hard work.

More Than Mistletoe would make a great stocking filler for a Christmas-loving reader, or else buy it for yourself for your winter hygge downtime, or your Christmas Eve Jolabokaflod (the most wonderful Icelandic tradition of exchanging books and reading into the night). It really is a lovely collection, and I’ll be watching out for all of these authors in the future, and wishing them the very best of luck.

More Than Mistletoe is available to purchase in paperback or ebook here (it is also free on Kindle Unlimited). You can follow The Christmas Collective on Twitter @ChristmasCo2021 and Instagram @christmasco2021

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