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Short Story Review: “Christmas With Daisy” by Mary Cunningham

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Mary Cunningham is the author of the popular adventure/fantasy middle-grade series for girls, Cynthia's Attic. The series features two best friends who travel back and forth in time through a magic trunk hidden in the attic of Cynthia's old house. I just had the pleasure of reviewing the fourth and latest book, The Magician's Castle. You may read my review here.

Now, right in time for the holidays,Cunningham has penned a charming short story featuring the two 12-year old time travelers: "Christmas With Daisy."

It's 1964, Christmas Eve, in Cynthia's old house. Gus and Cynthia are helping decorate the tree while waiting for the visit of a mysterious great-aunt whom everyone refers to as 'Crazy Daisy.' When she finally makes her entrance into the house, the girls are in shock. The old woman's face is a marred mask, her clothes practically rags, and she emanates nothing but loneliness and sadness. As the girls soon learn from Cynthia's mother, Daisy is the way she is due to a terrible accident she had back in 1914, when she was a little girl. On that sad night, Christmas Eve, Daisy got too close to the fireplace and her nightgown caught fire, giving the young girl second-degree burns and disfiguring her face permanently.

Gus and Cynthia feel very sorry for Daisy, who doesn't even join them at the dinner table that night.

Later on, the girls go to sleep and they both have the same mysterious dream: they travel back in time to 1914 and witness Daisy's terrible accident. This time, however, they're able to offer little Daisy advice and in doing so change the course of her destiny.

When the girls awake, they're not sure whether all has been a dream or not. After all, they didn't use the magic trunk to travel to the past. But then, how can both have the same dream? The girls are even more surprised when they see Daisy on Christmas Day… for she's like an entirely different person!

Did they really travel back in time? And if they did, could their advice to Daisy back in 1914 has such a wonderful effect?

"Christmas With Daisy" is an uplifting holiday tale that will be enjoyed by girls ages 9 to 12 years old… and by adults alike! It is also a wonderful tale to read sitting by the fireplace on those cozy Christmas nights. The story is 36 pages long and is divided into several chapters that move at an enjoyable pace. It also offers a valuable moral to share at this time of the year, that of kindness and compassion.

If your child doesn't know about the Cynthia's Attic series yet, "Christmas With Daisy" is a great way to introduce them to the books.

Read my interview with the author here.

To purchase the download, visit the publisher, Echelon Press.

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.