Book Advent – 15th December The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden

Set on Christmas Eve this well told story weaves together three plot strands in a magical tale of hopes, dreams and wishes coming true if you wish hard enough. Although originally published in the 1950s I had missed this gem during my childhood but quite honestly this is a lovely Christmas read for adults too.

Story of Holly and Ivy cover

Ivy, an orphan, is to be sent to the Infants’ Home for Christmas because “she has no-one”. Six year old Ivy has a quiet determination about her and says she will go to stay with her “grandmother” even though she knows she does not have one. Although she has never had a family to love her Ivy feels deep down that there is a family somewhere for her and once despatched on her journey she sets off alone to find them.

Meanwhile on a busy Christmas Eve the toys in Mr Blossom’s shop know it is their last chance to be sold. Holly, a little doll dressed especially for Christmas, wishes hard for her own special child to come and buy her. But the day ends and Holly is left in the window. In the same village a childless couple are preparing for Christmas. Mrs Jones has decided that they will have a Christmas tree and decorations but she longs for a child to share them with her. She sits and waits for her husband, the village policeman, to return home and wishes.

The way in which Rumer Godden tells these separate stories and then weaves them together is both clever and touching. I enjoyed this very much and think that children will do too. It has everything you could possibly want from a Christmas classic; an orphan, snow, talking toys and a happy ending. This is an absolute delight and I wish I had discovered it earlier.

My copy has the added bonus of illustrations by Christian Birmingham that complement the text perfectly.

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