Hello everybody, and welcome to day 7 of blogmas! Today we have the wonderful Alison Weatherby, who has written about the gifts her characters would give one another at Christmas time. Onto the post!
Originally, I was going to write about Christmas at Bletchley Park (where my YA historical mystery, The Secrets Act takes place), but honestly I felt that might be a bit boring. From what I imagine, it was business as usual (WW2 didn’t stop for any holidays) and Ellen and Pearl would’ve been trying to formulate cribs as usual in a cold, damp, and likely stinky hut. Maybe they would’ve been offered some sort of cake or pudding at the canteen and perhaps someone would’ve organized caroling by the pond. But I couldn’t imagine Ellen helping her landlady, Mrs. Waverly cook a huge feast for family and friends. Ellen likely would not have been given leave, nor would she be keen on seeing her difficult mother and quiet father in Wales for Christmas. Pearl and her mother probably would have a quiet night together, perhaps inviting her friend, Antony, and his family over, but again, it all depends on the shifts they were assigned at Bletchley. I thought it would be much more fun to figure out what my characters would gift each other for Christmas. Mostly because I didn’t have an easy answer to the question and also because I was pretty certain one of my misfit characters would mess it up. (Let’s be honest, the mess-up is always Pearl!)
Ellen, though, would be thoughtful. Of course, she’d be aware as the weeks were ticking closer and closer to Christmas and would think about what Pearl needs and wants. She’d want something special rather than something bought at the shops. She’d probably ask leading questions, slyly, trying to determine the perfect gift. Ultimately, I think Ellen would turn to Mrs. Waverly, asking for help sourcing wool and learning to knit her short, odd friend a new cardigan. Ellen would never expect it to replace the ratty old one that belonged to Pearl’s father. Instead, she’d present it as a different option, perhaps a more stylish one, for when Pearl’s favorite cardigan needed laundering or mending (which is frequently). The wool would be plain, perhaps a navy blue or dark grey, and I’m pretty certain Pearl would love it. Mostly because her best friend knit it, but also because it would fit like a glove.
Pearl, however, would be miserable about Christmas. I imagine she’d be the type to buy her mother the only thing left at the shops in the last hour they’re open, presenting her mother with boiled sweets or a novel she knows nothing about or a banged-up bag of potatoes on special. And while Pearl would want to give her best friend something amazing, she’d procrastinate, forget, and worry that nothing was good enough. I think if Pearl were lucky, she’d find a mystery novel or a book of crosswords to give Ellen with a new pencil. And I have to believe Ellen wouldn’t mind that the gift wasn’t extravagant or exotic. She’d be thrilled with a mystery novel to curl up with in the evenings – something to keep her mind off her work while relaxing by the fire with the Waverlys – and even more thrilled that it’s from her friend. I even wonder if she’d ask Pearl to inscribe it. I bet she would, and I’d like to think of Ellen as an older woman, bringing the book down from her shelf to reread it, looking at the inscription from her friend and knowing she couldn’t tell anyone why it was so important and what they’d shared together. Because truly, as cheesy as it sounds, I do think the best gift Ellen and Pearl gave each other in December of 1941 was friendship. And I’d like to think that friendship lasted a long, long time.
Thank you so much for reading! Have you read Alison’s book, or are you planning to? Which of the gifts mentioned would you most like to recieve? I’d love to chat in the comments!
2 thoughts on “Merry Blogmas from The Secrets Act by Alison Weatherby”
That actually does sound very interesting. A whole novel about the events surrounding different families linked somehow, be it the war or something else major as a backdrop, could be awesome.
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It’s a great book!