Review of Seven Stories for Christmas (e-book) by Henry von Blumenthal.
Being a retired librarian of a “certain” age, I have resisted e-books because I love the feel of a real book in my hands. Here I reveal, however, that I am happy to have been persuaded to read this lovely and charming little e-book available from Amazon.com for $2.99. It is only fifty-seven pages including the beautiful pictures that the author has selected to accompany each of the seven stories, and certainly well worth the short time it takes to read while sitting at your computer, or holding your Kindle or other mobile device. Included in that number are copious references to the Bible – Douay-Rheims version.
Mr. von Blumenthal explains that he is continuing a tradition his own father began. He composes each little story in advance of Christmas and includes it in his Christmas card mailing each year. The pivotal character in each of these pieces is Saint Luke (called Lucan in the stories) as he travels about seeking information for a book that he is writing about Our Lord. All of the tales are Biblically based, but he calls them “historical fiction.” The reason for this is that he has Saint Luke spending time with Our Lady and other New Testament figures while he weaves connections that are certainly possible, but are not written down in Scripture. For example, in the first of the stories, Lucan paints a portrait of Our Lady holding the Divine Baby after she demonstrates how she held Him as an infant. We know by tradition that Saint Luke was a painter, thus his position as patron of artists as well as of physicians.
Each story is carefully crafted and beautifully written. It is obvious that the author has great love for his subjects, especially Our Lady and Saint Luke. As you read each tale, be sure to go to the notes for that particular story so that you can understand the Biblical references. A sweet and charming offering giving the reader much to think about. I hope that Mr. von Blumenthal adds to this little gem each year.
A Note about the Author: Henry von Blumenthal is English of German origin. He was born in 1961, educated at a traditional British boarding school before going to Oxford University to read Theology. He felt he had a vocation to the Anglican priesthood, but in reading Theology became disillusioned with the Church of England and converted to Rome. Already married, Mr. von Blumenthal went to work for a Bank, was for 5 years an advisor to Moscow City Treasury, and eventually ended up working for the European Invest Bank in Luxembourg, where he is now the spokesman of the Staff Representation.
In his spare time he is the publisher of Charles Arnold-Baker’s The Companion to British History, which received stunning reviews in The Times, Daily Telegraph, and Guardian, among others, and was described by The Spectator as “among the most remarkable books ever written.”
Mr. von Blumenthal is also a knight of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta.