Most families have a treasured holiday tradition which they hold dear.  It could be singing carols around the fireplace, decorating the house, or coming together as one to watch a beautiful tree lighting display.  The possibilities are really quite endless.  For Rikkhe St. Claire’s family, it is storytelling which is the tradition of choice.  Coming together each year in a friendly tale-spinning contest.  What follows is a mesmerizing series of stories which have the magic of Christmas at their very core.  For readers searching for beautiful writing which elegantly captures the transcendent power of love– look no further.  You have arrived!

Written by author Veronica Cline Barton, Christmas Bizarre offers readers a collection of 5 heartwarming tales.  The way in which these stories are delivered is both creative and imaginative.  Coming together for their annual Christmas storytelling get together, the members of the St. Claire family each deliver one of the tales to the delight of the group.  Readers are then able to meet a host of different characters and engage in captivating plot lines.  For instance, in “Noel A Versailles” we get to meet an eccentric young lady who is obsessed with building a replica of Marie Antoinette’s regal playhouse.  However, when an exquisite Advent Calendar arrives one day, it will change her life in ways she could never have imagined.  Perhaps my own personal favorite story of the group is “The Rocking Horse“.  This tale tugged at my heartstrings in ways I never imagined possible.  Melancholy, sanguine, and magical… all at the same time.  It reeled me right in!

Without a doubt, this collection has a lot to offer for a variety of readers.  With the Christmas theme propelling them in the background, the tales include rich romance, intriguing mystery and beguiling supernatural elements throughout the pages.  These are all woven together with elegant prose which flows in a seemingly effortless manner.  The author knows her craft as she uses the charming and cozy background of Christmas to generate powerful emotions within the reader.  We are able to dive right into the stories as the vivid writing allows us to picture and visualize the various events.  Never one to “tell” the reader what to feel… Ms. Cline Barton simply lets us feel it.  Very powerful!

As there are a number of stories in this collection, it is difficult to dissect all the multiple characters.  However, the main group, which consists of the St. Claire family and Rikkhe’s boyfriend, Pete, match the story perfectly.  They are all authentic and warm individuals who espouse empathy and kindness.  These traits are definitely needed for the full impact of this collection to be delivered.  They are a wonderful support group!  None of this feels forced or contrived in the least.  Essentially, they are compelling and genuine characters who we instantly feel as if we can trust.

Anyone who is looking for an uplifting and heartfelt way to start the holiday season should seriously consider giving Christmas Bizarre a read.  There is something in it for everyone!

5 out of 5 Christmas Stars for this one.