Christmas Stories: Angel Unawares

December 19, 2017

I wasn’t sure I was going to manage any Christmas stories this year, but here’s one, at least: Angel Unawares, by Alice Williamson with, I presume, very little help from Charlie. Based on this and the one other Williamsons Christmas story I’ve read, they like spending their Christmases in the South of France.

The story takes place over the course of a single Christmas Eve (the Unity of Christmastimes!) mid-World War I. Dick Odell is doing something at the American Embassy in Paris, and sends his wife Elinor and daughter Angel to Mentone to remove them from danger. Angel wanders off while her governess is distracted, and finds herself in the garden of the Valois family, where she plays with a kitten and overhears some tedious exposition about the state of the Valois finances (not good). Angel decides to help them out, and when her mother disapproves of her first plan, she comes up with a second one.

Angel Unawares has its moments, but they don’t add up to anything particularly good. What ought to be the most exciting part of the story is the most boring, and what ought to be the most affecting passes too quickly. I liked Angel and her mother, but I wanted more from and for them.


  1. Merry Christmas! I always enjoy reading your holiday reviews every year.

    • A belated merry Christmas to you, too. And thank you–I’m sorry I didn’t read more Christmas stories this year, but I’ve been obeying all my reading whims lately, and that’s not where they took me.

  2. It’s not Christmastime now, but I was catching up on your blog, which is always a pleasure. For Christmas stories, did you ever read “The Plain Miss Burnie” by Frances Hodgson Burnett? I read it years ago, in the early days of public domain texts from the UVA site, and recently found it again online. If you haven’t, I recommend it! Short and sweet.

    Click to access 56.pdf

    • I haven’t–I’ve been failing to get into Burnett (beyond the obvious books) for years. Thanks for the recommendation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: