cover image Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say

Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say

Edited by Rhonda Parrish. World Weaver, $12.95 trade paper (215p) ISBN 978-0-9987022-4-7

Parrish (Haunted Hospitals) delivers comfort, joy, and more than a little Christmas spice in this adorable anthology that explores the woman behind the Christmas mythos in various guises, drawing on mythological influences that span the globe. Laura VanArendonk Baugh’s “Wight Christmas” provides a very strong opening to the collection, packed with action and the delightful absurdity of a Valkyrie Mrs. Claus representing Christmas on a council of holidays. Of particular note is Jeff Kuykendall’s bittersweet “Agatha Sings to the Scorpions,” which combines the darkness of space, hope, and the cruelty of colonialism. Maren Matthias twists the traditional view of Mrs. Claus in her slightly tongue-in-cheek “You’d Better Watch Out,” which toys with gender roles and magic. In Hayley Stone’s wry “Red to Hide the Blood,” one of many Santas falls in love with a gruff Inuit woman who hunts down the monsters that killed his reindeer. Even though Mrs. Claus is the focus, most of the stories touch upon Christmastime joy and wonder. (Dec.)