Book the Eighth
3.5 out of 5 Stars
From New York Times Bestselling author of ‘The Bookman’s Tale’ comes a somewhat different novel!
I promised my dad that I would read and review this book for my Twelve Days of Christmas, and I was glad that I did. Although, maybe a little far-fetched it was a wonderful short read with a beautiful message for, not only the Holiday Season, but all year around.
In Stave IV of A Christmas Carol Scrooge promises to
“honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Well, in this short story Scrooge may have taken that just a little too far as he continues to wish everyone a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” even on the hottest days of the year (not really keeping that spirit in your heart where it belongs, Scrooge!) All the town has come to the conclusion that he is losing his sanity, and he continues to sign cheques over the amount of the meagre funds he has not given away still trying to help those others in need.
After another visit from Jacob Marley where Scrooge learns that after 20 years of attempting to be a person (okay, ghost) he has only been divested of five links of his heavy chains. Scrooge then gleans a plan that will help Marley save thousands from their miserly ways and their poor circumstances without directly influencing them, which he is no longer able to do. Getting the three Spirits to visit some key people in Scrooge’s life he will turn the tides and bring the Christmas spirit back to the whole town, the whole Country even, while breaking the chains that weigh poor Marley down.
Although, a visit from some Spirits may not actually cause a bank to help the poor or people to enter Government positions to help those who are mentally ill or downtrodden. The message was clear and concise, Christmas has always been
“a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
In an age where our hearts are even more shut-up and suspicious of others, this is not a bad message to remind us of.
The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge is Best Served With
So, as this short story warmed my battered soul, so will this warmly spiced classic warm your bodies! My dad had a bottle of Mulled wine that he had purchased so I decided on a side by side with a pre-fab bottle and a homemade batch of my own!
The Mrs. Beachley’s was very nice both cold and warmed but I liked the spices in mine better. The bottled spices were a bit more muddled and muted. The sweetness of the bottled was very nice as well. If you make homemade check the sweetness level while it is heating to ensure it is up to the level you like, each wine is different which makes directions on amounts of sweetener difficult.
- One bottle (750 mL) of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot)
- One orange (peeled and sliced; keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 8 to 10 cloves
- 1/3 cup honey (or sugar) check to taste
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp. fresh or 2 tsp. ground ginger (allspice can be substituted)
- To make the perfect cup of mulled wine, combine all ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker.
- Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has dissolved completely. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have been well blended it is ready to serve
- Ladle the mulled wine into mugs (leave seasonings behind)
- The 1/3 cup of honey or sugar does make a sweeter-styled mulled wine, feel free to cut or add more honey/sugar down to taste.