(If anyone from the Top Ten Tuesday community is reading this, it’s a book I mentioned in a Top Ten Tuesday post last December. I saved it for this Christmas season to review!)
Title: Hellf on the Shelf
Author: Rumer Haven
Publication Date: December 3, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: 17 pages
Source: I received a free copy from the author
Rating: 5 Stars
‘Tis the season for Santa’s elves to deck the shelves, but this one’s on Mom’s naughty list.
No matter where or how she arranges the toy at night to surprise her sons in the morning, Mom wakes to find it just sitting on the shelf each and every time. Are the kids messing with her? Is her husband a traitor? Or is there more to the grinning elf on the shelf than its package advertised?
As Mom keeps trying to make spirits bright this season, she learns the true mystery and magic of Christmas.
Christmas magic is anything but effortless.
I adored the message of this short story. Too often the holidays are wonderful because women – and especially mothers – perform hours of invisible, unpaid work behind the scenes to ensure that the house is sparkling clean, the kitchen is stocked with plenty of delicious things to eat, invitations have been sent out for the parties organized by women, and there is a large pile of presents beneath the tree to suit everyone’s interests among countless other tasks. This isn’t to say this work is joyless. It can make amazing memories for everyone, but that doesn’t detract from the point that the labor is unevenly distributed and not always done happily. Keep this in mind while reading because it’s an important part of what plays out for one exhausted and confused mom as Christmas inches closer.
The unnamed family featured in this tale were genuinely nice people who loved each other and enjoyed spending time together. That’s not always present in what I read, so I sighed with relief when I realized that the twist had nothing at all do with anyone being unkind to each other. It was relaxing to get to know these characters better and wait to see what marvelous things might await them.
There was a gentle quality to the storyline that I appreciated as well. Yes, there were fantasy elements to it, but they all seemed like stuff that could occur at anyone’s house at this time of the year if that family believed in elves who watch over households and report back to Santa on what they find. I liked the ordinariness of the magical scenes and thought it blended in well with the sort of metaphorical magic that exists in our world.
Hellf on the Shelf was a breath of fresh air.