Monday, December 10, 2012

12 Days Review: The Coal Elf by Maria De Vivo

I've been reading a lot about the various writers that contributed to the history of Santa Claus. Maria has added a unique twist to the stories as well with the story The Coal Elf.

It was perfect timing when Maria approached me to review her book! I asked Maria how the Christmas season begins for her:
"Christmas usually starts when Santa arrives at

the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Because I live far away from my

extended family, the holidays are pretty low key. I love baking Christmas

cookies and cooking an Italian style meal, as well as spoiling my 3 year

old daughter on Christmas morning!"
Learn More about Maria HERE

The Coal Elf gives us a in depth look at one aspect of the Christmas story. Once I started Maria's book however, I wasn't really focused on the fact that the Coal Elves were creating the "gifts' for the naught Lister's. From the opening chapter all my focus is on Ember.

After nine years of comfortable living with her family a letter comes that changes Ember's life. Her job has been decided she is to go to the Coal mines. Ember's entire family is shocked and though they won't admit it embarrassed.

Ember's Father tries to tell her that it is all a part of some divine plan, that the Big Guy knows what he is doing and that Ember shouldn't question the decision.

Ember's father even builds up her position, convincing her that maybe she has a special position as a support staff or maybe a cook or seamstress.

It is wishful thinking. From the first day Ember is just another coal elf: wearing a scratchy jumpsuit, hacking away at the coal day after day, living in skin and hair that is constantly dirty and lungs that constantly fill with dust and disease.

For six years Ember lives without incident and without hope. then a strange series of events begin in the mines. After an extended illness Ember is surprised to receive a pass to go to the surface. A visit to her family is not what she expected and she finds that the above world has little left to offer her.

 Below ground things are changing, work shifts are shortened and then the workers are notified that they have an extended work break 3 months before Christmas. Ember is compelled to look into these events and her actions lead her to uncover a large conspiracy and set her life on a path she never would have dreamed off.

I really enjoyed this book! It isn't your typical holiday read, yet it is a realistic portrayal of an established myth. Ember is such a great character, she accepts what her life has given her with little grumbling but has the strength to follow her heart and disobey her superiors when instinct guides her down that  path.

A very well plotted read with a satisfying ending,
a Rafflecopter giveaway


fredamans said...

I was just gonna say it didn't look like a typical holiday read, but it still looks like fun!

Fiery Na said...

This is definitely than the usual holiday reads. It'll be a new perspective on coals and how they are acquired, I think.

Mary Preston said...

There are not a lot of stories about elves around. Surprising really.