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santaluciaThe Baby Jesus – yes, and Santa Claus – yes, but in my corner of the world, the gift-bringer, the one children write to, and wait for is the old (or young) lady with the donkey: Saint Lucia.

I’m well past childhood but, being the youngest – and indeed, the only young-ish – member of my family, I still get Saint Lucia. In the morning of the thirteenth, I wake up to find my little coloured parcels, and a sinful plate of candy…

This year, together with an elephant-shaped mug and a lovely glass ornament for the Christmas tree, Saint Lucia has left for me two historicals by Rosemary Sutcliff who, in spite of being a children’s author, is a writer right up my alley – or so I’m told. Sutcliff

That she writes tales from British history and was inspired by Kipling’s works seems very promising. From the hastiest perusal of her extensive bibliography, Kipling’s influence is clear. Just have a look at title and synopses: they have Puck of Pook’s Hill written all over…

I also like what Sally Hawkins writes here about Sutcliff’s novels, and how they sparked off her love of history, and her lack of condescension towards younger readers… As I said, it’s all very promising. Then again, Saint Lucia is seldom wrong. So, no matter how the show goes tonight, I can anticipate coming home to a pleasant few hours of reading one of my new Sutcliffs.

Thank you, Saint Lucia.

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